RJ Jazul looks to make an immediate impact with Phoenix as it makes its conference debut in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday against Blackwater at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
The veteran combo guard is the Fuel Masters’ most prized offseason recruit, acquired in a trade with Alaska for Simon Enciso, and Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia expects Jazul, who turns 31 next month, to immediately be a leader for the team.
Asked how he feels now he’s thrust more into the spotlight, Jazul says he goes by the age-old adage “With great power comes great responsibility.”
“Ganun talaga eh,” Jazul said in a recent chat with SPIN.ph. “The more na binibigyan ka ng tiwala ng coach, the more na mas malaki yung responsibility mo, ‘di ba?”
“Siguro yung ‘spotlight’ is either positive or negative, talagang babalik sa’yo yun,” he added. “Kung nagampanan mo ng maayos yung role mo, syempre positive, pero pag hindi naman, dun ka pa rin sa spotlight, pero negative naman.
“Depende naman sa perspective ng tao yun eh,” he continued. “Pero ang mahalaga, as a team, as a player, alam mo yung ginagampanan mo.”
Jazul tries to fit in a team that features JC Intal, Willy Wilson, Cyrus Baguio, and Doug Kramer, and Eugene Phelps as the import. Rookie of the Year race frontrunner Matthew Wright is still recovering from ankle surgery in the offseason.
The Fuel Masters take the court at 3 p.m. against an Elite side that’s bannered by former NBA player Greg Smith and locals Mac Belo, Nard Pinto, Denok Miranda, and Ronjay Buenafe.
The Elite, however, also missing a promising young talent in Art dela Cruz, who ruptured his Achilles right in the first day of Gilas Pilipinas 5.0’s training camp in Tagaytay this week.
Alaska, anchored by last-minute import replacement Cory Jefferson, tangles with GlobalPort and Sean Williams at 5:15 p.m.