Jake Pascual excited about move to a Star team with rich winning tradition
Jake Pascual joins Star for the first time in a tune-up game against Alaska. Karlo Sacamos

HE may have been surprised, but this was what he wanted all along.

Although not expecting to be traded to Star last Monday after coming off a fun team-building session with Barako Bull over the weekend, Jake Pascual is embracing his move to a team with a rich winning tradition.

“Nagulat ako kasi galing lang kami sa Anilao,” the incoming sophomore big man said in a chat with Spin.ph on Wednesday after the Hotshots’ tune-up game against Alaska at Hoops Center.

“Ito na (ang hinihintay ko),” he was quick to add. “Gusto ko talaga maglaro sa ganitong team, 'yung big team talaga na contender, parang ang sarap lang maglaro.

“Tapos I’m playing for the fans kasi after nung trade approval pa lang, ang dami na nag-congrats sa akin,” he continued. “Very warm welcome naman ang pagtanggap sa akin ng Purefoods fans kaya nagpapasalamat ako. Sana masuklian ko yung pag dating ng season.”

[See PBA approves trade, sets stage for Devance-Cone reunion at Ginebra]

But Pascual is not regretting spending his freshman year with perennial mid-table squad Barako.

“Hindi, syempre dun tayo nagsimula eh,” said the former San Beda stalwart, the eighth pick overall in the 2014 draft. “Masaya naman ako ‘dun at thankful na sinuportahan ako. Yung Barako tsaka ako still friends pa rin naman.”

But after putting up a solid performance in freshman year that saw him average 6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.8 steal in 23.3 minutes to earn him a spot in the All-Rookie team, Pascual is expected to prove himself anew in a Star side with depth at frontcourt.

“Quality minutes lang ako,” said the 6-foot-4 forward, who will share minutes with Marc Pingris, Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, Yousef Taha, and rookie Norbert Torres. “Kung papasukin ako, okay; pag hindi, adjust tayo, part of professional basketball na yun. kung ano makakabuti sa team, dun tayo.”

Pascual saw decent playing time against the Aces, but registered a solitary point.

“Nangangapa pa ako sa mga plays. Sana maka-adjust ako kaagad.”

[See Webb refuses to dwell on Devance exit, focuses on promising Pascuals]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos