AFTER eight seasons in the pro league, former University of the Philippines Maroons star center Jay-R Reyes is hoping he has finally found his home at Barangay Ginebra.
Reyes looked like a man reborn during his debut for Ginebra on Sunday, scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and issuing one assist in the runaway victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers at the Big Dome.
“I am really happy here. Marami pang nag-welcome sa akin tapos yung system ni coach, alam ko agad i-run," said the 6-7 slotman. "Sana ito na ang last team ko… sana dito na ako mag-retire.”
They Said It!
“Sana ito na ang last team ko… sana dito na ako mag-retire." - Jay-R Reyes, Barangay Ginebra's newly-acquired center
The least heralded among Ginebra's offseason acquisitions, Reyes immediately fit into coach Ato Agustin's system as he played quality minutes behind rookie Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar in Ginebra's frontline.
No wonder he's happy.
“Yung play kasi ng Ginebra mas magkaka-freedom ka maglaro eh. Pwede kaming mabigyan ng bola sa gilid o ilalim, weakside seal… pag open ka sa perimeter, may go signal ka (na tumira),” he said.
“Ito yung sistema na hinihintay ko,” added Reyes, who averaged 4.39 points and 5.28 rebounds in 17 minutes of action with Meralco last season.
Asked how he feels playing alongside other marquee big men like Aguilar and Slaughter, Reyes said he knows his place in the team and doesn’t mind playing second or third fiddle.
“Basta ang mahalaga sa akin, maibigay ko role ko at makapag-contribute sa team,” said the journeyman who has had short stints with Rain or Shine, Air 21, and Alaska Milk. “Sa mga tune-up namin atsaka sa game kagabi, natutuwa ako kasi puro positive sinasabi sa akin ng coaching staff.”
The 29-year-old was acquired by Ginebra from Meralco via a one-on-one trade for Kerby Raymundo last October 22 - a deal that was initially condemned by fans of the league's most popular ballclub.
[For full story, see Reyes out to prove Ginebra made right call in acquiring him in Raymundo deal]
There were also reports that Ginebra may just be a pitstop for Reyes who may find himself on the move again soon - news which the former Maroon hopes isn't true.
They Said It!
“Ayoko na malipat sa iba … dito na lang sana ako. Gusto ko dito sa Ginebra.” - Ginebra player Jay-R Reyes
he said. “Hindi ko na rin ini-entertain 'yung balita na baka malipat ulit ako. Maapektuhan lang ako.
"Basta ang sa akin, masaya ako dito ngayon at ibibigay ko ang lahat ng makakaya ko.”