For the last four years, Terrence Watson — who hails from Detroit, Michigan in the United States — has played pro basketball in Iceland, Finland, and Israel. But deep inside, the six-foot-five swingman wanted to play somewhere else.
“I’ve been studying, wanting to play in this league for the past four years, and every team I think kind of passed up on me,” reflected the now 30-year-old, talking about Asia’s first-ever play-for-pay league that is the PBA.
Watson’s dream, at last, turned into reality as one of the PBA teams were looking for another reinforcement.
It was the San Miguel Beermen who reached out to him after Terik Bridgeman bombed in his two-game stint with the grand slam-seeking squad. And as soon as the storied franchise made it known that they were seeking for another import, Watson did not hesitate to agree and come over to the Philippines.
“They finally gave me a shot.
“I’m just studying and I know they’re going for a Grand Slam. I’m just happy they brought me here to be a part of it,” said the American cager, who had gone undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Watson’s skillset was put to the test right away, however, as he made his PBA debut against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night. But instead of flinching, he performed impressively — all the while having had just three days of practice.
Watson scored 28 on 52.4 percent shooting, to go with 17 boards, four dimes, and two blocks in 39 minutes. It was clearly a notable line for someone who played his first game, but for him, the credit goes to his new teammates.
“I had like three days to prepare, but when you’re playing with guys like that — when you’re playing with June Mar [Fajardo], Alex [Cabagnot], [Chris] Ross, and those type of guys, they make it just really easy for me,” he said.
The first challenge for Watson is now through. But what the Beermen brass wants to really see, of course, is if he has what it takes to play a pivotal — if not Herculean — role in the franchise’s bid for a rare Grand Slam feat.
“I’ve been playing basketball professionally for eight years now, so that tends to happen,” he said of the task. “There are a lot of guys who get cut if you don’t win; there’s always pressure no matter what team you go to.
“There’s pressure for guys in last place – they don’t want to finish in last place The guys in the middle want to be up top, so there’s pressure for everybody. I just have the pressure of wanting to win a championship.
“I think it’s good pressure to have,” he declared.