Hardwork pays off as De Guzman makes triumphant PBA debut

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From just being a practice player six months ago, Ginebra rookie big man Jericho de Guzman relished his promotion to the Kings’ regular roster in the PBA’s new season.

For after all the hardwork in his journey to the PBA, the 6-11 de Guzman felt nothing but extreme happiness after making his pro debut Friday night against Mahindra.

“Sobrang saya, kung dati, times ten nung na-draft ako, ngayon siguro times twenty pa kasi first game ko nga,” a beaming de Guzman told FOX Sports as the Gin Kings hammered the Floodbuster, 89-70 victory.

While coach Tim Cone sent him in during “garbage time”, the former St. Benilde product said it’s enough to show how much he has learned to play under the two-time PBA Grand Slam coach’s system.

“Napakita ko yung ginawa ko ng hindi ko pinipilit, sumunod lang ako sa sistema ni coach Tim at nagbunga naman yung pagsunod ko sa kanya ng maganda,” he shared.

In close to 3 minutes of action, the towering de Guzman managed to score a two-point basket, enough to elicit loud cheers from the Ginebra fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

De Guzman, who toiled as a practice player in the Governors’ Cup last season, said he has embraced Ginebra’s system since joining the crowd darling, allowing to boost his overall game from then on.

“Sa sistema, parang okay na ako, hindi na ako nangangapa.  Siguro meron kaunting mali pag may adjustments pero maliban doon sanay na ako,” he shared.

“Madami akong na-improve simula nung nagsimula ako sa Ginebra nila coach Tim under their wing, sa laro ko, sa kumpiyansa ko, sa physicality ko, sa mentality ko, lahat na-improve nila,” he added.

Moving forward, whether he gets to play again during garbage time or not, de Guzman vows to stay ready when his number is called once more by Cone.

“Always ready naman ako.  Anytime hugutin ako ni coach, nandyan lang ako, ibibigay ko yung best ko,” he said. – Jason Mercene

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