Jhonard Clarito brings with him the wisdom imparted by former PBA veterans he has worked with in the past, now that he aims to crack into the pro ranks.
The 6-foot-2 forward is making the jump while equipped with needed confidence, thanks hugely to Larry Rodriguez, Mac Cardona, and John Wilson – all of whom he had the privilege to play alongside with in San Juan in the MPBL.
“Sila ‘yung mga inspirasyon ko rin dahil siyempre, mga beterano sila. Nakakakuha ako ng kumpiyansa sa kanila,” he said during the Draft Combine, Wednesday at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
“Malaking bagay sila sa akin.”
Clarito holds the distinguished troika dear to his heart, since he attained success with them about three years ago in the regional league.
Together, they helped the Knights rule the 2019 Datu Cup at the expense of Davao Occidental. That best-of-five finale even went the distance.
However, it wasn’t solely the taste of gold that made his time with his seniors worthwhile. For the 25-year-old, it’s really the lessons and the countless pieces of advice he received from them that he keeps in mind to this day.
“Si Kuya Larry Rodriguez, ‘yun yung laging nagpaalala sakin na ganito gawin ko, ganyan; ‘pag nagkakamali ako tinutulungan ako. Tsaka si Kuya Mac Cardona, at Kuya John Wilson na laging tumutulong sa’kin kung ano mali ko, ano gagawin ko na maitutulong ko sa team.”
The product of De Ocampo Memorial College believes that vets like them have been instrumental in his development to the player he is today.
“Kaya siguro ‘yung laro ko medyo umaangat-angat dahil sa mga teammate ko rin na tumutulong sa’kin, lalo na yung mag ex-PBA na naggabay at coaches na tumulong sa’kin. Pati na rin mga bossing,” said Clarito.
Aside from the guidance of his ‘kuyas,’ Clarito is heading into Sunday’s draft armed with enough experience from playing in other leagues. He has previously seen action in the PBA D-League and, just recently, in Filbasket.
“Malaking bagay kasi lahat ng nakalaban ko may ex-PBA, mga beterano,” he offered. “Siyempre natututo ako bawat laro. Matalo man o manalo, at least may natutunan ako, may nakuha ako sa bawat game.”
But as others would say, the PBA is a different animal. Clarito is aware of that, yet assured that he’ll give all that he could once given the opportunity.
“Malaking challenge ‘to. Kung ano ‘yung nilalaro ko sa mga liga, kung may opportunity ako na makalaro, gagawin ko 100 percent ng makakaya ko.”