THE parting of ways may not be amicable, but Jay Washington insists he harbors no ill feelings toward his former team Petron.
The 6-foot-7 Washington said he is happy to be starting all over again after he was traded by the Boosters to rookie team Globalport, a franchise still in search of its identity in which the Fil-Am big man hopes to revitalize a career that appeared to have stagnated this season.
Washington said he’s trying to adjust to his new team and new environment after joining the Batang Pier on their second day of practice at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus on Wednesday.
“I’m getting used to my new surroundings, new coach, new system. But it’s good though. I’m just excited about the new start and it feels good being here,” Washington told Spin.ph.
The former Eckerd College alumnus understands player trades are a part of PBA life – and other leagues for that matter – and has learned to accept the fact the San Miguel Corp. management is moving in a new direction.
“As far as San Miguel and Petron are concerned, I can’t have any hard feelings against them. They basically made me a star in this league so I owe them a lot, especially Boss RSA (San Miguel big boss Ramon S. Ang) and Boss Danding (Cojuangco). They treated me like family,” he said.
“If they wanted to make changes and go for a different route, that’s how it is sometimes. But as far as I go, I don’t feel like I lost anything,” added the 31-year-old Washington, who earned two Best Player of the Conference awards in his five-year stint with the SMC Group after coming on board in 2008.
Washington said several changes, from player movements to coaching shuffles, have somehow affected Petron’s performance the past seasons.
“We had a pretty good run especially during my first couple of years with the (San Miguel/Petron) team because we got Danny Seigle, Mick (Pennisi), and other veterans. It seemed so easy back then to win because we were (always) in the semis and finals,” he recalled.
“But then, it’s more like, so many changes have gone since. Like every conference, something major is going on. I was playing well there, trying to kill myself for the team, basically had an injury caused by wear and tear,” the sweet-shooting forward said.
“Then when I came back, for me, personally, it was a lot different. I went from major contributor to being like a role player.”
By joining Globalport, Washington sees an opportunity to have a fresh start and regain his old, fiery form that made him a three-time Mythical First Team member in the league.
“I really feel good being here (Globalport), be able to contribute and be a major contributor, helping lead some younger guys, since I have the championship experience,” he said.
“Basically, I know how it goes and what it takes to win and I’m comfortable with the role to lead,” Washington added.
Washington averaged just 8.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.06 assists for Petron this season, way below his 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists during the 2011 season - the year he won a PBA championship and earned a Best Player of the Conference trophy.