Hotshots rookie Robbie Herndon was doubtful to play when Magnolia took on the Alaska Aces in its season opener, Wednesday evening. Just four days before their campaign opened, the 6-foot-3 swingman hurt his back during the team’s session.
The native of San Francisco, California was frustrated with what happened as the Hotshots were already undermanned entering the season. Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis, and Jiovani Jalalon were already on the sidelines. Wanting to help his team in whatever way he can, Herndon and the team’s medical staff worked double time to repair his sore back.
“I was frustrated that four days before the game I get a back injury.
“I was doubtful if I was gonna play but we got awesome trainers here and we worked on it everyday and got my back and was able to play so I’m just super-excited that I was able to play today,” shared the sixth overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.
Still, he was not a hundred percent.
But a surprise came knocking Wednesday morning that made Herndon will himself to play. His father Robert Sr. flew from San Francisco to Manila just to watch his son play.
“My dad flew out today and surprised me, I didn’t know he was here. He flew out and surprised me!
“It would have been sad if I wasn’t able to play in front of him,” shared the younger Herndon, who traces his roots in Cebu.
Herndon made sure to impress by having an efficient debut, scoring nine points on 4-for-7 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. He also knocked down a long jumper with 1:26 left in the game that put the nail in the coffin of the Hotshots’ 108-95 win.
“With practice and tune-up games, I felt like I started to find my niche there and to be able to carry over it to the real games is a good feeling,” he said.
With a good start to his pro career, Herndon hopes that the ball keeps rolling for him as he feels that he is at home with the Hotshots.
“I feel welcome here and I feel that I’m in a good situation right now.”
For the meantime, Herndon is just planning to sit back and enjoy with his father because family is where home really is.