ROOKIE Raymar Jose is aware of the heightened expectations from fans who feel he’s the only missing link in Blackwater's ambition to finally be a title contender in the PBA Philippine Cup.
And it doesn’t help that other fellow newbies such as Kiefer Ravena of NLEX, Alaska’s Jeron Teng, and Jason Perkins of Phoenix are all doing well.
“Malaking pressure talaga,” he said of being selected by the Elite as the third overall pick in the last rookie draft. “Tapos yung ibang rookies maganda ang pinapakita.
“Pero lagi ko lang pinapaalala sa sarili ko na maglaro lang ng maayos at kung ano lang yung maitutulong ko sa team. Kasi kung papa-apekto ka sa pressure, baka wala ka lang magawa.”
Two games into Blackwater’s campaign, Jose has been living up to expectations.
He got his first career win as a pro after the Elite downed the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 92-87, heading into the holiday break.
“Siyempre, masarap ang feeling,” said the former Far Eastern University stalwart after contributing 12 points and eight rebounds in the victory.
In two games, Jose averaged 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Mac Belo, a teammate of Jose at FEU, where they won a UAAP men’s basketball championship together in 2015, wasn’t surprised with the numbers so far churned out by the 6-foot-4 forward.
“Alam ko naman kung gaano kalaki yung contribution na magagwa niya sa team,” said the 25-year-old Belo, who was very happy to be reunited with his college pal at Blackwater.
“Minsan sinasabihan ko rin siya, pero alam ko naman ang effort na binibigay niya every game.”
Jose said he doesn’t mind whether he plays according to expectations or not. The more important thing for him is to help the Elite reach the next level.
“Wala naman sa stature yan, basta ang gusto ko lang matulungan na mag-improve ang team,” he said.