JONJON Gabriel is set to sign a two-year deal with KIA after capping off his stint with Colegio de San Lorenzo with a UCBL title.
Gabriel said he has wound up with KIA after he was left unsigned by Phoenix, which got him in a trade from TNT, the squad that made him the 11th overall pick in the recent PBA draft.
“Sa KIA ako ngayon. Bali-balita makakapirma na ako bukas. Gagawin ko ‘yung best ko,” said Gabriel, who also added he will sign a two-year deal on Tuesday.
Before signing a PBA deal, Gabriel helped Colegio de San Lorenzo to the UCBL crown after sweeping Centro Escolar University on Monday. He finished with six points and seven rebounds in his final game as a college player.
“Gusto ko mag-champion sa final year ko. Gusto ko manalo para sa school na tumulong sa akin kung bakit ako nakaakyat sa PBA,” said the 24-year-old Gabriel.
The 6-foot-6 Gabriel said he was shocked that he was picked in the first round by TNT KaTropa, his name being mentioned earlier than other players coming from UAAP and NCAA schools.
“Sobrang nagulat ako dahil hindi ko ineexpect na first round tapos 11 pa. Sobrang blessing sa akin ‘yung bagay na ganun,” said Gabriel.
The CdSL big was later traded to Phoenix, a development which he didn’t mind eventhough he was not signed by the Fuel Masters. Fortunately for Gabriel, the offer from KIA came.
“Para sa akin, wala naman ‘yun. PBA naman ‘yun. Kahit saan naman, okay lang sa akin. Gagawin ko trabaho ko sa team,” said Gabriel.
After winning the crown in his final college basketball career, Gabriel now turns his attention on KIA as he vowed to work hard to earn his spot in the rotation for the team, while being thankful to CdSL, UCBL, and the other leagues he played for the Griffins.
“Sobrang excited na ako kasi panibagong mundo na ‘to. Malalakas kalaban dito. Puro beterano. Unti-unti, gusto kong may matutunan sa kanila,” said Gabriel.
”Sobrang laking bagay sa akin ‘to (UCBL and other leagues). Eto puhunan ko. Dito ako nakilala. Dito ako nagsimula,” he added.