THOUGH he is one of the most good-looking newcomers in the PBA today, Barangay Ginebra rookie Rodney Brondial said he wouldn’t mind putting his pretty face on the line on the hardcourt.
“Hindi 'to larong papogi. Handa akong makikipagpalitan ng mukha,” Brondial, the sixth pick overall in the last PBA rookie draft, vowed to the legion of Ginebra fans, excited as he is to play his first game with the team.
“Nababasa ko nga po sa internet na sinasabi nung mga anti-Ginebra na, ‘Dagdag papogi na naman 'yan.' Kaya po tinitiyak ko sa mga fans ng Ginebra, hindi ako papogi,” he added.
The 6-5 cager out of Pajo, Quezon City said one of the best moments of his basketball career happened during the draft on Sunday, when a loud roar greeted the announcement that he was picked by Ginebra.
“Ibang klase po yung Ginebra. Nung tinawag na po ako na sixth pick, sa mall pa lang po 'yun, pero parang pakiramdam ko po pumasok sa mga ugat ko yung hiyawan nila,” said Brondial, who received the loudest cheers among the draftees.
“Nakaka-sobrang energized po. That time parang gusto ko na nga pong maglaro eh,” added the 24 year old.
Brondial said everything was a blur after his name was called by Commissioner Chito Salud.
“Sobrang na-overwhelm po ako nun. Hindi ko na alam at maalala yung mga sumunod na pangyayari. Basta ang nakita ko na lang, nasa stage na ako, nauna pa sa Ginebra (players, officials and coaching staff),” said Brondial.
“Napansin ko nga po na kami lang ni commissioner ang nasa taas, yung Ginebra team, papaakyat pa lang,” he recalled with a laugh.
And in his first practice with Ginebra as its full-pledged PBA player Monday, Brondial bared how he made it a point to come earlier than required time.
“Yung weights session po namin eight po ng umaga, pero 6:30 pa lang andun na ako. Gusto ko pong maaga, kailangan ko pong sipagan. Kailangan kong mag work hard. Saka excited po talaga ko,” he said.
“Sobrang masaya po ako. Syempre, pangarap ko lang naman na ma-draft sa PBA. Tapos Ginebra pa naka-pick sa akin. Napakaswerte ko po talaga,” added the former Adamson forward.
Right now, Brondial says he is still waiting for the coaching staff to tell him what his role in the team would be.
“Sa ngayon po kasi, dine-define pa yung position ko. Baka po stretched four ako or pwede akong mag-three. Kailangan ko magpalakas kaya sumasama na ko kay Kuya Billy (Mamaril) sa weights program,” he added.
Asked if he is worried at the possibility of being buried deep in the bench as Ginebra is teeming with big men in Japeth Aguilar, Grgeory Slaughter, Jay-R Reyes and even Mamaril, Brondial claimed he's willing to wait.
“Ok lang po ako kahit saan. Alam ko naman po na may challenge ako sa playing time kasi andun pa sila Japeth. Saka rookie pa lang naman ako, alam ko kung saan ako lulugar. Bahala na si coach sa lahat,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brondial’s former mentor at Adamson and now San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria believes the hard-banging forward is a very good addition to Ginebra’s frontline.
“Magandang addition si Rodney dun. Kasi matapang ang bata na 'yan. Hindi takot makipag-banggaan. Tama yung sinabi niya, nakikipagpalitan ng mukha sa ilalim yan,” said the amiable mentor.
“Masisiyahan ang mga fans ng Ginebra kay Brondial,” added Austria.