Double celebration for birthday boy Mikee Reyes as he gets drafted in PBA
Mikee Reyes vows to work hard and earn a contract in the PBA. Jerome Ascano 

MIKEE Reyes couldn’t have received a better birthday present than the one he got on Sunday when he heard his named called as one of the draftees who made it a step closer to realizing their PBA dreams.

The former University of the Philippines point guard turned 26 on Draft Day when TNT Katropa picked him the fifth-round pick, becoming the second to the last pick and 36th overall in the draft.

The draft was the only thing on his mind since the clock struck midnight.

“Actually, nakalimutan ko ngang birthday ko,” Reyes insisted after the draft. “Nung pag-apak ng 12, lahat nag-happy birthday sa akin. Sabi ko Draft Day yung iniisip ko, hindi birthday eh.”

“Grabe, best birthday gift ever,” he added.

[See Star, Blackwater, SMB are top PBA draft winners; GlobalPort, TNT among losers]

Reyes did admit there were thoughts that he wouldn’t get drafted as the proceedings went along.

“While I was seated, sabi ko sa sarili ko, surrender na ako sa plano ni Lord sa akin eh,” he said. “I controlled what I could control, nag-prepare ako physically, ni-ready ko sarili ko for the challenge. Pero yung draft, hindi ko na kontrolado yun eh.”

“Nung slowly, nauubos kami dun, sabi ko, may plano si Lord,” he added. “If I go undrafted, may plano si Lord sa akin and if do get drafted late, may plano rin si Lord sa akin. I was nervous, but at the same time, surrender na ako.”

It was music to his ears when the 5-foot-10 playmaker finally heard his named called by the team he once scrimmaged against as a college freshman under former TNT assistant and UP coach Aboy Castro, who recruited him.

“As early as first year college, nagpa-practice na ako sa Talk ‘N Text. Scouting team ako. Pag kalaban nila Alaska, ako si Jayvee (Casio),” Reyes recounted. “Dun pa lang, nakita ko na yung tiyaga na kailangan mong daanan para umabot.”

“And how ironic na dito ako napunta,” he added. “Talagang unbelievable experience and I’m just excited for the challenge.”

But Reyes is well aware that getting drafted is just one thing, playing is altogether another.

“Yung pag-pirma yung importante, hindi yung draft eh,” he admitted. “So again, I can control what I can control, punta akong practice, I’ll just work hard, then we’ll see what happens.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos