SAN JUAN may be a small city, but you can’t say the same when it comes to how big and passionate the local folks are when it comes to embracing the game of basketball.
So when the San Juan Knights were presented right before their eyes on Wednesday, the crowd packed the old San Juan Gymnasium to see their local heroes.
They welcomed their visitors, the Marikina Shoemasters. But the focus of attention was on celebrity baller Gerald Anderson.
San Juan was appreciative of Anderson’s presence, waiting him to come up with a big play, but the Knights were all business, trying to give him a neat lesson as their own way of showing: “welcome to the MPBL, Gerald!”
Playing point guard in his playing time, Anderson found life in the MPBL and realized it won’t be a stroll in the park as he couldn’t get an attempt, even committing three turnovers and picked up an offensive foul.
“It’s a learning experience. Swerte ko lang tinanggap ako ng team ko. From hereon now, gagawin ko yung best ko, sa practice, training at makahabol man lang ako sa level nila,” Anderson told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.
Anderson is no stranger to playing basketball. He could have made it a profession had he not been discovered by Pinoy Big Brother. He could have been an ordinary baller making a career through basketball.
But Anderson hasn’t played in a game of this magnitude.
“Ito actually, yung first game ko, at this level. Ang dami ko pang kailangan i-improve. Swerte ko lang, mahaba pa yung oras ko. Ngayon lang ako naglaro ng basketball sa ganitong level,” he added.
The players at the MPBL, according to Anderson, was at a higher level, making his entry in the league more challenging.
He, however, realized that it is challenging as a rookie baller playing in the fastest growing regional league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
“Mahirap kasi medyo abnormal yung schedule ko,” added Anderson. “Katulad kagabi (Tuesday), nag-practice ako until 12 midnight, kasi yun lang yung oras na puwede. Pero kapag gusto mo talaga, laging may paraan. I’ll find a way to improve more.”
But Anderson loves challenges and won’t just back down without a good fight.
“Sobrang challenging. Ganun naman kasi akong klase ng tao, lagi akong naghahanap ng bagong challenge. Before this, triathlon naman,” added Anderson. “Now, this is a new challenge in my life, excited ako. I have a good team, great group of guys. Araw-araw tinutulungan nila ako kasi naghahabol ako pagdating sa system namin.”
According to Anderson, after he saw the article which came out on FOX Sports Philippines, it made him realize how big the league is.
“Simula nung lumabas yung article na yun, parang doon ko na-realize kung gaano siya kalaki. I’m happy to be a part of the second season. Sobrang pinaguusapan na yung MPBL. I’m glad that I’ll be able to test myself here,” he added.
Anderson vowed to play more games as he cane for his MPBL team.
“Abnormal man yung schedule ko, I’ll make it a point na palagi akong magjo-join sa practice at sa game,” he added.
Image by Ralph Salcedo