JOSHUA Smith’s first run in the PBA may not have ended as he hoped as the gentle giant and his TNT KaTropa team succumbed to San Miguel Beer in six games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals.
Yet despite all his sacrifices in playing with basically one healthy foot since the semifinals and missing the birth of his daughter, Smith held his head high and focused on the positives on their run to the finals that just fell short on Sunday.
“My first year in the PBA, we made it to the championship. We had adversity the whole time I was here – the first series against Meralco, the second series against Ginebra,” said Smith.
“I don’t really believe in moral victories but there’s 12 imports here, there’s only gonna be two in the championship and I was one of them, so that’s really cool to say,” he added.
The loss may be a tough one to take, but with his daughter Jayden, waiting for him when he gets back to the US, Smith considered the defeat a badge of honor given how he battled through tremendous adversity just to be able to play in the finals.
“I’m a dad, man. It’s been because obviously I wanna go out there and win a championship, but it’s a different feeling when you got somebody depending on you. I just hope when my daughter gets older, [she'll see] that her dad did everything he could,” Smith said.
“Win or lose, I’m a winner. I get to see my daughter for the first time. Obviously different circumstances than I wanted, but can’t get mad,” he added.
While he went on a tirade on officiating the last game, the 6-foot-8 Washington native was quick to tip his hat to the Beermen after the Game Six loss at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel came out firing last Sunday, with the KaTropa failing to find answers to their small ball adjustment. That’s why no matter how heated the series turned out to be, Smith has nothing but praise for their foes.
“I don’t really think anything went wrong. You gotta tip your hats to them. It’s not really X’s and O’s type of thing. They were the better team. They won four games, you gotta give them respect,” Smith continued.
“They made adjustments. June Mar is a three-time MVP and he didn’t really play the last couple of games. That’s a sacrifice he made. That’s just them trying to win. You gotta tip your hats off to them,” he added.
Smith also has some words to the loyal fans of the KaTropa, as he hinted that this won’t be his last stint in the PBA.
“I wanna give a shoutout to all the fans that supported us while I was here. I wanna say this ain’t the last time they see me.”