PBA Rookie Draft evokes memories of failed expectations for Ginebra fan RR Garcia
RR Garcia doesn't hide the fact that he grew up supporting Ginebra, thanks to his dad who is a lifelong fan of former Kings playing-coach Robert Jaworski. Snow Badua

THE coming PBA rookie draft brings back memories of failed expectations for RR Garcia based on his own experience last year.

A professed Ginebra diehard just like his father, the former Far Eastern University star disclosed how he had hoped to be picked by the Gin Kings with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 drafting, which would have realized a childhood dream for the player.

“Pang fourth kasi na bubunot ang Ginebra nun di ba? Kaya syempre, nanalangin ako ng husto na makukuha ako ng Ginebra, kasi yun ang team ko nung bata pa ako,” he said.

Garcia proudly recalled he grew up watching the games of Gordon’s Gin on TV together with his dad, retired Marine second lieutenant Rody Garcia.

“Oo, lagi kami nanunuod ng tatay ko nun ng mga laro ng Ginebra. Idol niya si Jawo (Robert Jaworski), ako naman si Bal David,” said Garcia, who revealed how he valued a replica jersey of David given to him by his dad back in high school.

“Kaya nung nakita ko na nagpa-draft sila Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, at Raymond Almazan, alam ko agad sila na ang top three picks. Sabi ko may chance ako nito sa Ginebra,” said Garcia, aware the three big men were already a lock as the top 3 picks of Ginebra, San Mig Coffee, and Rain or Shine, respectively.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way RR envisioned.

The Kings went on to tab Fil-Am James Forrester with the No. 4 overall pick, crashing the hopes of Garcia to suit up for the league’s most popular ballclub.

“Syempre, nalungkot din ako nun. Saka nagulat,” he said.

“Naisip ko talaga nun, pwede naman na isa sa amin ni Terrence (Romeo) ang sa number four di ba?” added Garcia, who was later on picked by GlobalPort as the No. 6 overall selection behind his former FEU teammate.

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But the pride of Zamboanga insisted he has nothing against Forrester, whose athleticism and promising skills could have been too good to pass up for the Ginebra coaching staff.

“Deserve naman niya na fourth pick siya (Forrester), kasi dos-tres siya eh, gusto ng Ginebra mabibilis. Mga athletic tulad nina Chris Ellis at Japeth Aguilar, yung Forrester athletic eh,” Garcia said.

After spending his rookie season with GlobalPort, Garcia is now with Barako Bull, where he is being tipped to become the next star guard of the franchise.

Barako Bull veteran guard Willie Miller believes Garcia is one of the most talented young guards in the league today.

“Mahusay si RR, kasi he is very patient sa floor orchestration, tapos ang maganda sa kanya, mas inuuna niya i-involve ang teammates niya,” noted the two-time league MVP.

“May iba kasing guard, tira muna bago pasa. Si RR, kahit may magandang shooting, ok. Pasa muna ang iniisip bago titira. Mataas pa ang basketball IQ,” added the Barako Bull veteran.

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