GINEBRA rookie Rodney Brondial aspires to be a player in the mold of Marc Pingris, and has been mistaken for actor Matt Evans one too many times.
But the way he plays reminds Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua of another player.
“He is like Rudy Hatfield, very aggressive," said Chua, recalling one incident in Ginebra practice where Brondial was left groggy after getting hit by an accidental elbow but insisted on playing on.
"Tinamaan sa mukha eh. Pinakunan nga namin ng second opinion (sa hospital). Hindi pa nga siya fully recovered, nagsasabi na agad sa akin na gusto niya lumaro ngayong conference.
“Ibang klaseng breed itong bata na ito. 'Pag kausap mo, he looks very shy, parang ‘boy next door’ pero he works hard. Parang Rudy Hatfield talaga,” Chua added.
True enough, Brondial, picked at No. 6 overall by Ginebra in the last rookie draft, returned to practice on Tuesday just days after sustaining injuries from an Andrew Avillanoza elbow.
“Natamaan po ako ng siko, aksidente. Umaatake po ako sa poste, tapos pag ikot ko sakto andun siko ni Andrew,” recalled the 6-5 forward out of Adamson.
“Bagsak ako agad nun. Suspected fracture kaya pinag-pahinga ako ng ilang araw,” he said.
A member of the Ginebra coaching staff bared how Brondial wanted to continue with practice after the blow, but was later persuaded to go to the hospital.
“Grabe yung bata na 'yun. Gusto pa ulit mag-practice. Nakita naming medyo napuruhan kaya talagang hindi na namin pinayagan bumalik (sa ensayo),” said the Ginebra insider.
Brondial said: “Wala po, kailangan ko lang po talagang ibigay ang lahat kada laro, kahit practice. Hindi kailangang mag relax.”
“I think he is prized catch for Ginebra. Bigyan niyo ng ilang conference yan, he can be a very good player,” said Chua, who coached Hatfield during his time with Tanduay.
Meanwhile, Brondial has just returned to practice yet bad luck once again struck, losing his cellphone in a taxicab while going to practice.
Asked why he still commutes, the soft-spoken rookie said he is still prioritizing other things in life.
“Mas inuuna ko po muna kasi tirahan ko. Naglipat po ako ng bahay. Tapos tumutulong rin ako sa family ko,” he said. “Ako rin po nagpapa-aral ng kapatid ko, lalaki, third year college.”