THANKS to Wynne Arboleda, Carlo Lastimosa had a rude welcome right on his Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) debut.
In the final moments of Barako Bull’s PLDT myDSL-Philippine Cup game against Air21 on Saturday, Lastimosa was hit right in the face by Arboleda shortly after stripping the ball off the veteran Express guard.
Not that the Energy Cola rookie, nephew of former PBA superstar Jojo Lastimosa, is complaining.
“Welcome to the PBA,” said Lastimosa, as he showed a scratch on his neck to reporters shortly after the match. “Part of the game, kaya okay lang.”
It was indeed a debut to remember for the former College of St. Benilde stalwart who finished with a team-high 15 points in a 77-92 losing cause.
The one-time NCAA Rookie of the Year however, had mixed feelings about his first game in the pro league as Barako Bull fell to a 2-4 win-loss card.
“Talo eh, pero I’m happy nagamit ako ni coach at nagpakita naman ako. Pero natalo,” said Lastimosa in between hand slaps with veteran teammate Mick Pennisi, who made fun of the rookie during the interview.
Picked by Barako Bull in the second round in the last Draft following a colorful stint with the Blazers in the NCAA, Lastimosa said he never expected to play like this in his first game as a pro.
“Siyempre, kapalitan ko sila Willie Miller and Ronjay Buenafe, hindi ko ini-expect na magagamit ako. Ang iniisip ko lang, every game, dapat ready lang. Kapag ipasok ako, dapat may ma-produce ako para magamit ako uli,” said Lastimosa.
In terms of training, Lastimosa said practices in the pros are relatively easy, but in order to survive the physicality of the game in the PBA, Lastimosa said he does extra work of his own.
“Kailangan ko mag-weights at mag-extra work. Tinuturuan naman ako ng mga teammates ko kung paano mag-adjust,” said the son of former amateur player Danny Lastimosa.
The Cagayan De Oro native also said Miller, a fellow NCAA alumnus, is a big help to his transition as a pro.
“Malaking bagay si Kuya Willie, magaling siya,” said Lastimosa of the former Letran guard. “Idol ko siya dati pero ngayon tinuturuan niya ako pati ng mga teammates ko.”