RAYMAR Jose is one of the top players of Far Eastern University in the team’s drive to retain the UAAP championship in Season 79.
But did you know that Jose almost played for the La Salle Green Archers?
The 24-year-old Jose said he was already headed to La Salle years ago, but it took a while for his transfer from Cebu Eastern College to be facilitated.
That was when then-FEU coach Bert Flores was able to speak to the Pontevedra, Negros Occidental native and encourage him to move to the Tamaraws, who still had one spot remaining in their pool.
“Dapat sa La Salle ako eh,” Jose related to SPIN.ph on Thursday. “Kaso, nagka-problema. Nabalitaan nila (FEU) ako. Tinanong ako ni coach Bert kung saan na ako ngayon, sabi ko, 'Naghihintay pa ako sa La Salle.'”
“Sabi niya, 'Try mo dito [FEU] kasi may isang slot pa. Baka puwede kang ma-line-up.' Tinry ko at nakuha naman ako,” Jose added.
Instead of La Salle, Jose ended up at FEU beginning in 2012, where he slowly emerged from a bench warmer to one of the key players in the Tamaraws squad that won the crown last season.
Following the graduation of now-PBA players Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, and Russel Escoto, Jose, or Toto to his teammates, was thrust into a leadership role under head coach Nash Racela in Season 79, where he averaged 11.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Tamaraws.
Before joining FEU, Jose stayed already in Manila when he played for the Arellano Braves in the NCAA juniors division in 2009 before deciding to return to Cebu to play high school ball at Cebu Eastern College.
“Para sa akin, college ‘yung tinitignan ko. Iniisip ko na kailangan ko pang magpahinog sa probinsya,” said the hulking forward.
Jose said he never regretted moving to FEU as he has learned a lot under the tutelage of Racela, who has helped mold him into one of the best big men in amateur basketball today.
“Marami akong natutunan hindi lang sa court, pati sa buhay, attitude, at sa pagiging disiplinado,” said Jose.
Incidentally, Jose may end up facing La Salle in his final UAAP game since the top-seeded Green Archers are already assured of a place in the finals after dispatching Adamson in the Final Four.
Jose and the Tamaraws can join the Archers in the finals if they overcome No. 2 Ateneo and its twice-to-beat advantage in a Final Four showdown beginning on Saturday.
That's exactly what Jose intends to do.
“Para sa amin, double effort lang kami especially sa depensa kasi puro sila shooters. Kailangan lang namin sundin ‘yung gustong gawin ni coach. Maganda naman ‘yung game plan niya, kailangan lang namin sundin,” said Jose.