KIB Montalbo and Aljun Melecio became good friends at La Salle, their bond extending to their studies where they became thesis partners.
And as Melecio begins his quest to make it to the PBA, he feels lucky to still have the TNT defender by his side.
"Nag-uusap kami about sa draft, kung ano yung pinagdaanan nya during the draft, kung ano yung mindset," Melecio told The Prospects Pod.
Montalbo's own experience is a huge help for Melecio, especially now that it's the latter's turn to go through the wringer in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
At 5-foot-8, the Valencia City, Bukidnon native acknowledges the tougher climb he has to endure just to make it to the pro league.
But if there's a ray of hope he can cling on, it's Montalbo who at 6 feet flat was taken by TNT in the first round of the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft.
Montalbo dispenses valuable pieces of advice.
"Ang sabi niya lang, relax lang ako at wag masyadong mag-overthink kasi hindi ko naman kontrolado yung mga ganyang bagay. So maging ready lang palagi kasi yun yung bagay na mas may control ka, sa sarili mo. Wag mag-overthink kasi lalo kang magpa-panic or mape-pressure ganon," Melecio shared.
Montalbo made his PBA debut inside the Clark bubble, providing pesky defense that was worth more than his 1.3-point and 1.0-rebound average for the Tropang Giga in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
It's these nerves of steel which Montalbo is hoping Melecio possesses too as he embarks on this new chapter of his basketball journey.
"Wag mag-overthink kasi lalo kang magpa-panic or ma-pressure. Ganoon lang ang advice niya," he relayed.
The draft is a nerve-wracking experience for any rookie hopeful, and Melecio is no exception. But like what he learned from his pal and former teammate, it's all a matter of handling your nerves.
"Sa PBA, iba na eh," he said. "So kailangan mas matatag k;a sa defense. Kung kailangan naman maka-score, nandyan naman ako palagi kung kailangan. Nung last season ko sa UAAP, medyo kumalma na yung game ko and I believe I had better decision making. So nakatulong yung last playing year ko para sa akin."