AS he gathered himself on the line for the first free throw of his pro career late in the second quarter, Raymar Jose looked so jittery that his shot didn’t even touch the rim.
That however looked like the only blemish in the rookie’s impressive debut, proving to be the consolation in Blackwater’s 103-98 loss to Meralco in their PBA Philippine Cup opener on Friday night.
“Na-excite ako,” the 25-year-old rookie recounted with a smile of his first charity. “First game ko. Nagulat ako na ganun nangyari. Eventually, na-adjust ko naman. Nakuha ko naman rhythm ko. Yung free throw ko, na-shoot ko na naman. Practice ko pa.”
After missing his first free throw, Jose hit all but one of his next seven charities, highlighting his solid showing that saw him finish with 16 points, six boards, and two assists, without committing a single turnover in almost 22 minutes as a starter.
“Siguro nag-focus lang ako sa loob,” this year’s third overall pick said. “Nung pinasok ako ni coach, ready lang ako sa mga pinapagawa niya, mga play namin. Unang pasok ko, medyo excited, medyo naga-adjust pa ako. Hopefully next game namin maka-adjust na ako.”
The 6-foot-4 Jose wasted little time in proving his worth by firing eight of his output in the first quarter, before saving his best for last by scoring seven in the final frame.
Still, the former D-league MVP insisted he’s far from where he wants to be, especially matching up against his former idols turned foes.
“Yung mga nakakalaban ko, beterano sila,” Jose said. “Kailangan talaga mag-adjust ako. Bawal mag-relax. Konting ano lang, wala ka na kaya kailangan iimprove sarili ko.”
“Hopefully sana ma-improve pa namin ang sarili namin as a team, magtrabaho pa kami,” he added. “Kulang pa. Wala pa kaming pinapakita. Sana yung team namin, mas maging isa kami at ma-improve namin lahat.”