John Wilson invests PBA earnings in businesses - and urges youngsters to do the same
John Wilson, shown here at the Nihonryori restaurant in Makati which he co-owns, has put his PBA earnings to good use. Jerome Ascano

SAVING money and investing in several business is almost imperative in an athlete’s life considering the unpredictable nature of their field and the short window of opportunity to earn.

John Wilson didn’t realize this until he was 30, but for the seventh pick overall of the 2010 PBA rookie draft, it’s better late than never.

Wilson now owns two businesses - a carwash which he started in 2017 and a Japanese restaurant right at the heart of Makati, Nihonryori. So far, it has been paying off for the former NCAA MVP.

“Katulad sa sinasabi nila, ‘di tayo habambuhay basketball player. Nag-try kami mag-business for the future of our kids din. Mawala man ako sa paglalaro ng basketball, may kinukuha kaming income. May dumadating sa amin,” said Wilson.

“Yes yes. Pero kahit late bloomer naman still doing good yung dalawang business ko,” he added.

The timing was perfect for the pride of Binangonan, Rizal. Shortly after he was released by Barangay Ginebra in late April, his restaurant formally opened at the Valero Grand Suites in Salcedo Village – it was ultimate investment coming from all the earnings he accumulated in his eight-year PBA career.

“May mga discussion kami nung part-owner ko na inalok niya ako mag-try ng wala sa linya ko. Mahilig kami kumain ng wife ko, nag-usap kami about sa alok na business, sabi ko sa wife ko, ‘Why don’t we try kahit wala sa linya natin.’ So kinuha namin opportunity, as of now, tuloy-tuloy ang kita naman,” Wilson said.

“Pinag-pray namin kay Lord to give us a good sign kung kukunin namin yung opportunity. As of now, still good talaga,” he added.

Take a more comprehensive look at Wilson's resto:

Though Wilson is out of the PBA now as he’s set to suit up for the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) – the uncertainties that an athlete faces particularly with their income is somehow alleviated by the two businesses that he owns.

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He shared that it all started when he tried his hands at running a carwash last year, and the moment that business picked up – he began exploring new things, which eventually paved the way for Nihonryori.  

“Wala pa akong idea nung bata bata pa ako. Naisipan kong mag-business ng carwash, sabi ko naman hanggang nasa PBA ako at that time, may budget pa, naisip ko na mag-business ako na wala sa linya ko,” Wilson explained.

He then encouraged younger athletes to take a risk in opening a business while the money is still flowing in their professional careers.

To some, it’s a big gamble – but Wilson says that the payoff will be worth it.  

“Habang nandyan kayo, habang kumikita sa basketball, mag-invest na kayo sa business. Siyempre may risk yan, wala namang business na walang risk kung mag-boom ba or hindi. Habang may income kayo, mag-try na kayo. In three to six months naman malalaman niyo kung okay ba yung kita or hindi.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11