Before he flew to Thailand for the Grand Borneo Invitational Challenge, Raymar Jose and his agent Ed Ponceja made sure to submit his PBA Draft application last Thursday.
And the 24-year-old bruiser felt that he was ready to enter the big league after being part of Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the Jones Cup, Southeast Asian Games, and, later on, with club team Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.
“Ngayon lang ako nagpasa sa draft kasi nung una, hindi ko pa iniisip yung PBA draft. Nag-focus muna kasi ako sa Gilas, sa mga laro namin sa international,” recalled the 6-foot-4 big man.
“Pero nung natapos na yung Champions Cup, sabi ko ‘ready na ko’.”
Jose can safely be called a basketball grinder.
After a stellar final year with the Far Eastern University, where he posted norms of 11.1 points and 11.0 rebounds in his final year, he did not rest, joining ABL club team Kaohsiung Truth, averaging 10.6 points on 50.3 percent shooting to go along with 4.8 rebounds during the season.
From there, he joined PBA D-League team Cignal HD Hawkeyes, helping lead the team to the 2017 Foundation Cup championship. Moreover, Jose was crowned the Most Valuable Player of the conference with averages of 12.27 points and 10.18 rebounds.
After the D-League season, he was called up to the national team, winning his first-ever SEA Games gold in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He capped his busy year by joining Chooks-to-Go in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Jose averaged 5.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes during the regional club tournament.
The native of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental feels that with the experience he gained in the Asean basketball scene, he can make a quick impact in the PBA.
“Ready na ako siguro kung sa ready.
“Kung sino man magdradraft sa akin, sisiguraduhin ko na I’ll do the little things para sa team,” he said. “Pinaka mabibigay ko talaga is yung hussle defense. Pero kung ano pa puwede kong maitulong sa team, gagawin ko rin.”
Projected as a top five pick in the draft, Jose plans to add one more thing to his arsenal before draft day: shooting.
“Sa tingin ko kailangan ko pa i-improve yung shooting ko kaya yun yung tinatrabaho ko ngayon. Lagi ako nag-e-extra practice para maayos yung form ng tira ko.”