JERIC Fortuna won his first major championship with San Miguel Beer and Leo Austria as coach.
Hopefully, an encore will be forthcoming by the end of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The diminutive guard out of University of Santo Tomas booked a breakthrough semifinals appearance on Tuesday after the Beermen routed Blackwater, 91-62, to earn the No. 1 seeding in the Final Four of the season-opening conference.
Fortuna couldn’t contain his emotion about playing in his first semifinal series in the pro league, and possibly a shot at yet another championship with no less than Austria again leading the team.
“It’s my first time to be in the semis, so I’ll just make the most out of it. Kasi laging quarterfinals lang ako sa Barako (Bull),” said Fortuna, selected 14th overall by the Energy during the 2013 rookie draft.
The 23-year-old Fortuna was reunited with Austria at San Miguel after the Beermen acquired him following a trade with Barako Bull for veteran Paolo Hubalde a month ago.
The transfer meant another chance to play under the same coach with whom he won a title in 2013 after the Beermen swept Indonesia Warriors in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals.
While admitting getting shocked following the trade, Fortuna said he was likewise elated to have the chance to play for Austria again.
“Siyempre, nagulat ako (about the trade). But it’s part of the business, kailangan lang mag-adjust agad, move on,” he said with a sheepish smile.
“But since I’ve been under coach Leo nga before, saglit lang, nagsama-sama lang kami a few practices and then okay na. I’ve got comfortable na agad.”
Fortuna is in the final year of his two-season contract, that’s why he’s really trying his best to prove that he really belongs in the league.
And one certain way to show it is to help the Beermen win their first title in the league in three years.
“Hopefully (mag-champion). 'Yun naman ang gusto ng lahat, ang makalaro sa finals and mag-champion,” he said. “Oo, masayang mag-champion, everybody happy.”