“Ito na ang pangarap ko, nakuha ko na.”
Jackson Corpuz went to the SM Mall of Asia Arena earlier than the 2:00pm call time the Mahindra Floodbuster were told to for their tilt against the TNT Katropa, Sunday afternoon. “Hindi ko nga alam kung saan ang dugout dito o paano ako makakapasok,” he quipped. “Hindi pa rin kasi nabibigay yung ID ko.”
Once he finally found the Floodbuster locker room — a fully-furnished room that is larger than the classrooms of the JCSGO Gym or the cramped rooms of the Ynares Sports Arena, that’s when he realized that this was not just a dream. He was now facing the reality of being a professional cager — a dream that he almost gave up on after being undrafted back in 2014.
“Tinitingnan ko jersey ko pagpasok sa dugout, nakalagay PBA. Wala na yung D-League. Sobrang saya ko kasi nakuha ko na yung pangarap ko makarating sa PBA,” added Corpuz, who played for five teams in the D-League.
Corpuz, who did not even make the varsity team of Philippine Christian University, may have debuted not the way he wanted after fouling out midway in the final frame and finishing scoreless in five tries, but it proved to be an unforgettable night for him as head coach Chris Gavina fielded him in the first five.
“Tinatawag pa lang yung pangalan ko sa first five, sobrang saya ko.
“Isa pang kinagulat ko, ang laki agad ng tiwala sa akin. Ang tagal pa ng minutes ko,” added Corpuz, who logged in 22 minutes that saw him collar six rebounds.
Still, Corpuz admitted that he still has to get himself accustomed with his new environment, facing his childhood heroes, and adjusting to the officiating.
“Kailangan pa mag-adjust kasi iba ang tawagan sa D-League at sa PBA eh,” he shared.
Nevertheless, Corpuz has made it. And he is nothing but grateful to the huge blessing he has received.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay God sa binibigay na blessings. Kagaya nung sa D-League, nabigyan ako ng chance para mag-champion pero ‘di ako pinalad,” said Corpuz, referring to the bridesmaid finish he had with Racal in the 2017 D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
“Ito another blessing na naman. Pangarap ng bawat atleta makaabot ng pro. Nabigyan pa ako ng chance.”
Now that his first game is already in the books, Corpuz’ main focus now is to prove the Floodbuster that they madr the right choice of calling him up from the developmental league.
“Extra work lang, double o triple effort. Sobrahan lang effort. Kung ano yung role na ibibigay sa akin, gawin ko lang,” the 27-year-old vowed.
It’s never too late to realize dreams. And Jackson Corpuz is the best example of it.