Barangay Ginebra import Othyus Jeffers loves the Philippines so much, he turned down more lucrative offers from other clubs to play here instead.
“There were opportunities to (play) in other countries and make more money, but the first time I came to the Philippines, I loved it. The people here, it’s an awesome place to be. I am blessed to be here and be part of not just Ginebra but being able to play in the PBA, period,” Jeffers said Friday after Ginebra lost to NLEX in overtime, 114-112.
“I had offers bigger than what I got here, (but) again it’s not always about the money. I made a ton of money throughout my career, I reached 30 so that’s pretty much the pinnacle of your basketball career. Now, I am just having fun.”
The 30-year-old Jeffers, who had first suited up for TNT in a short-lived stint back in 2014, said he was amazed at how the country takes the sport seriously, even praising the talent level of athletes here and how Philippine basketball in general has made good strides in the international scene.
“I was shocked how much the country took basketball. They have the same coaches, same staff that can make a basketball team run (like) in the (United) States. They take basketball seriously and (that’s why) they are on the rise,” Jeffers said.
“The Philippines has a lot of players that can play in the (United) States. They take basketball very seriously. That is one of the reasons I decided to come here. The best fans in the world. They can go out and compete and prove the world they belong.”
Jeffers had stints with the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, and Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA, before pursuing a career overseas.
Despite the loss, Jeffers still felt the support of the Ginebra faithful afterwards, as he was mobbed on his way out of the venue for pictures and autographs.
Perhaps it’s among the factors that pushed Jeffers to choose the Philippines instead of other countries, and as he embarks on a new journey, Jeffers has vowed to give it his all.
“I am blessed to be here, I am in an awesome place, I feel great, my life is good, the people here are great, and I am blessed to be in one of the best (franchises) in the PBA,” he said.
“I got you (til) the end of the conference,” he said, reaching out to Ginebra fans.
Sometimes, nothing can match just enjoying what you love, and that’s the road Jeffers chose to take. It’s probably all worth it, anyway.
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