HARD as it was to take at first, Fil-Am Keith Jensen feels the move to a new team in just his first season as a PBA player may just be the boost his pro career needs.
“Well, it’s a great opportunity for me to have a new start with Barako Bull. Hopefully, I can help my new team and see where I can contribute,” Jensen said after his debut with the Energy Cola during the 2nd Al Shabab Basketball Championship in Dubai last week.
Selected eighth overall by Barangay Ginebra in last year’s rookie draft, the 6-foot-5 Jensen out of New York University entered the league with high hopes and a lot of expectations.
However, he found himself buried deep in the Ginebra bench in the first two conferences of his rookie season, with his good friend and fellow rookie Chris Ellis getting much of the attention and the playing time either at the guard or forward positions.
Jensen then found his way to Barako Bull after being shipped by Ginebra along with a future second-round pick in exchange for spitfire guard Josh Urbiztondo just before the trade deadline in mid-April.
Jensen recalled the move at first shocked him, considering he was at that time preparing himself for Ginebra's run in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
“I was shocked. I didn’t see it (trade) coming especially since I was getting ready for the playoffs,” said Jensen. “Though later, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to play under coach Rajko (Toroman), who’s a great coach and who’s got a great system.”
Since arriving Monday from Dubai where the team finished fourth, Barako Bull is on a break and won't return to practice until June 24.
But for Jensen, there won’t be any break.
“I recognize the opportunity given me so I’ll work hard (during the long break),” added Jensen, who averaged just 0.44 points and 1.1 rebounds in six minutes of play during the nine games he suited up for the Kings in the Commissioner’s Cup.