JOREY Napoles hopes his entry in the PBA Rookie Draft will serve as an inspiration to players from small schools to dream big.
The 25-year-old Napoles became the first player from Technological Institute of the Philippines to be drafted in the PBA after he was picked 12th by Phoenix. Being selected in the first round, he is assured of a guaranteed contract and a place in the roster.
Napoles said he still can’t believe being selected in the draft, let alone being picked in the first round.
“Hindi ko talaga in-expect na mangyayari ‘to,” said Napoles.
Napoles admitted it was a dream come true for a player outside the top collegiate leagues UAAP and NCAA.
The TIP star gave his all during the PBA Draft Combine in hopes of being noticed by teams, using his struggles as a basketball player as motivation.
“Siguro confident naman kasi marami na rin pinagdaanan. Siguro sapat na rin ‘yun. Sa PBA Combine, binigay ko ‘yung best ko. Sabi ko, eto na ‘to eh. One step closer na. Ibibigay ko ‘yung best ko. 100 percent na o dodoblehin ko pa. Nandito na talaga eh. Eto na ‘yung pangarap ko para maabot ko,” said Napoles.
The Daraga, Albay native paid tribute to his coach at TIP in Potit de Vera.
“Sabi niya, kahit hindi ka galing sa UAAP o NCAA, doblehin mo ‘yung trabaho para mapansin ka ng coach. Siguro nagbunga. Nagpapasalamat ako kay coach Potit, nagtiyaga sa akin,” said the 6-foot-4 forward who can play the wingman position.
Napoles said his selection should also serve as an inspiration to other players from small schools who want to make it to the PBA.
“Sabi ko lang sa kanila, pangarap nila, ituloy lang nila. At higit sa lahat, manalig sa Taas. Kumbaga, go lang ng go para sa pangarap. Wag silang susuko. Wag silang mada-down. Kahit anong dumaan na stuggle sa buhay nila, go pa rin kung ano ‘yung pangarap nila.
“’Yun din naramdaman ko dati eh. Feeling ko nawalan talaga ako ng chance sa basketball kasi hindi UAAP, NCAA. Kaya sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi ‘yan. Mindset lang ‘yan. Gagawin ko lang ‘yung best ko,” said Napoles.