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From practice player to certified Gin King

IT WON’T be the first time he’ll be playing for Ginebra, but come the PBA’s 42nd season, Jericho de Guzman won’t be just a practice player anymore.

The towering De Guzman couldn’t believe it as he heard his name get called by Commissioner Chito Narvasa during Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft. The team that picked him was BGSM--his favorite team and the team that took him in for a whole conference as a practice player. 

“Sobrang saya ko, ‘di ko ma-explain,” said the elated 6’11’’ Center from College of St. Benilde after the annual Rookie draft at the Midtown Mall in Robinson’s Ermita. 

The rookies selected are shown with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud after the league’s draft day rites. Paul Duran

“Dream come true para sa akin ‘to,” he added as he saw himself wearing the Ginebra cap and jacket after being picked in the second round by Ginebra and no one better to greet him but by Tim Cone himself, who honed his skills during his five months with the team. 

“Araw-araw ko pinagdadasal sa Diyos na mapunta ako sa Ginebra, at ngayon nagkatotoo nga,” De Guzman said with a smile. 

And the scheme of things just went for De Guzman as Rain or Shine passed just before he was selected by Ginebra, a move that would have spelled a different outcome, but for the gentle giant, his prayers were just for him to be picked in the draft.

De Guzman first went to Ginebra’s practices when former coach Richard del Rosario invited him in. 

The 27-year-old Tarlac native also bared that he is excited to be with the team again, albeit with him getting to suit up for the storied franchise, not only inside the gym, but inside the court in front of its legion of fans. 

“Hindi pa rin talaga nagsi-sink-in masyado, parang dream come true talaga. Parang lumilipad ako,” he said.

Topics: Ginebra , PBA’s 42nd season , Jericho de Guzman , Commissioner Chito Narvasa , PBA Rookie Draft
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