JERICK Cañada is happy to finally achieve his dream of making it to a PBA team years after getting drafted but going unsigned.
The former Adamson Falcon, who played for several teams in the Asean Basketball League, PBA Developmental League then back to the ABL the past two years, is glad he is weeks away from a PBA debut after signing with Blackwater just weeks before 2014 ended.
“Thankful ako na dumating ’yung pangarap ko,” said the 5-foot-7 Cañada, who was picked 28th overall by Ginebra in 2012. “Sobrang dami kong pinagdaanan sa international na palipat-lipat ng team.”
The former Adamson guard played for two seasons with the Indonesia Warriors under head coach Todd Purves, helping the team claim the 2012 crown in the final against the San Miguel Beermen.
Recently, he won the finals MVP award when he helped guide Hi-Tech Bangkok City to the ABL crown. Incidentally, Bangkok City was coached by former Adamson assistant coach Jing Ruiz.
Although it was good to play for champion teams in the ABL, Cañada said life as a professional basketball away from home is tough.
“Mahirap din sa malayong lugar na malayo sa family at mga kaibigan. Eight months, eight months ako sa Indonesia tapos six months sa Thailand,” said Cañada.
Cañada also had to endure a tough period in the middle of the 2013 ABL championship series when he suffered an ACL injury. Fortunately, he was able to come back and even had a short stint with Jumbo Plastic Linoleum in the PBA D-League before returning to the ABL and play for Hi-Tech Bangkok City.
[See Jerick Canada named Finals MVP as Bangkok City sweeps Malaysia Dragons in ABL finals]
“Sobrang hirap ng ACL dahil ’yung mentality mo, na-injured ka, mahirap bumalik. Pero nakabalik ako. Kaya nagpapasalamat din ako na tinanggap ako ng Jumbo Plastic at naka-recover ako,” said Cañada.
Now that he is in the PBA, the 25-year-old Cañada vows to make the most of his chance of playing for Blackwater. He has been joining the team’s practices in preparation for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where he hopes to be included in the active roster for the import-laced conference.
“Excited na ako maglaro. Hinihintay na nga ng family ko dahil lahat daw sila manonood. Naniniwala naman ako na kapag may hardwork, may patutunguhan naman. Masaya rin ako na napunta ako sa Blackwater kasi marami rin akong kakilala dito,” said Cañada.