UNLIKE many others — who've poured many months to prepare for and agonize over their PBA draft applications — Michael Jay Javelosa submitted his form almost on a whim.
Not part of the plan
It wasn't really part of his life plans at that moment. The Iloilo City United Royals member and acting manager just grabbed the chance, since this year's draft was more lenient with the qualifications.
"One of the things that made me want to pursue it is that I didn't have enough PBA D-League experience cause of the pandemic. For now, they have lighter requirements, so I just did it," he told SPIN Life.
But soon after he registered, the MPBL player began to realize that he actually wanted this.
Javelosa began to feel that it was high time to rekindle and rechase his sidelined dream of making it to the courts of the biggest leagues in the land. Before, it was the UAAP; now, it's the PBA.
Storied earlier years
In his younger years, he had a solid shot at making it to the collegiate rosters. He played for the Ateneo Grade School, took part in the juniors' championship in high school era 2010, before he transferred to Reedley International School. During this time, he was part of the Olsen Racela-mentored U-16 and U-18 national youth team who sweeped 2011-2012 South East Asian Basketball Association championships. This was also the same team which played in the Adidas Nation youth tournament in Long Beach, California, United States.
In college, the 25-year-old earned himself a spot in the Blue Eagles' UAAP team, then reserved. But circumstances forced him to let go.
"Rookie year ko, I was teammates with CJ Perez in the team B. I was so excited to work to represent the school in the UAAP. But there's this one year I had academic difficulties, so I had to prioritize [my studies]," he said.
It was a big blow for the ambitions of a player with deep-seated roots in the game. His grandfather, Alfredo, was teammates with Katipunan great Moro Lorenzo, and he left his grandson a wish before he died years ago.
"Before he passed, by grandfather said he wanted to see me in an Ateneo jersey. So, letting it go [was] really heartbreaking," he said.
Completing a comeback
He tried a second time to make it to team A, taking an additional year in university. But with the depth of Ateneo's bench, he was held off.
"The thought that 'I could've done better in college' will always be with me," he said.
After he graduated, he worked in real estate, and on the side, played for Navotas in the MPBL before his father, JJ, became the team owner of Iloilo. He transferred there, and is now working as both player and its acting manager.
"My dad took the chance and wanted to push through with the team. I remember him calling me asking for help to rebuild the team, [to] get coaches. Being part of it, I was still grateful things happened the way they did. It's a big factor. Now, I could say na those lessons paved way for me to be where I am now," he said.
The 6-foot-5 cager may have missed the UAAP, but getting into the MPBL helped him regain his confidence back. In his last season, he averaged 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 points, and 0.6 assists per game.
When he was considering the draft application, his coaches' advice even helped him decide.
Now, he's not backing out.
"I have a personal skills trainer I practice with three times a week, I work out everyday to get ready," he said. "This time, I want my grandfather to see me in a PBA jersey and I want everyone to know na I'm still here, still working on my dreams."