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Tiebreaker Times


Given another chance, Jai Reyes aims to be competitive again

It’s rare to see people flash smiles on a Monday. But Jai Reyes was different.

The 5-foot-6 point guard just could not hide his glee on Monday afternoon, as he played for the Go for Gold Scratchers in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup opener at the Ynares Arena.

This is his first game back after over a year, or since March of 2017, where he last played in Thailand’s TBSL.

“[Expletive]. [It’s been] Really a while, man!

“Honestly kanina kinakabahan talaga ako after a year off. Yung parang bagong naglalaro ulit ako ng basketball. I’m just happy to get through this game, nanalo kami,” expressed Reyes moments after the Scratchers dismantled Batangas-EAC, 88-75, a game where he had seven points, four dimes, and three rebounds.

For someone who didn’t play that long, it is in a way expected that they might be on the verge of hanging up their sneaks for good. But for Reyes, some instances just bring that desire to play back.

“I’ll be honest. Nung nakita ko yung MPBL, I was reminded ng UAAP crowds. So sabi ko why not play again?,” shared Reyes, who spent five fruitful years with the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles that resulted in two championships.

“Then fortunately si Coach Charles (Tiu, Go for Gold head coach) — we’ve been teammates since the Ateneo days — so sabi ko laruin ko na lahat, nandito na rin ako eh.”

Being away from basketball for 15 months might be a problem of sorts for cagers. The 18th overall pick in the 2010 Rookie Draft, however, called it a blessing in disguise, as it helped him reflect on what he should do next.

“I was able to reflect kung ano yung kailangan ko — na if I wanna be competitive again I have to work on a couple of things: being in better shape, watching my nutrition and everything.

“Those were the things that I wasn’t doing kahit na nasa PBA ako. So blessing in disguise din na nakapagpahinga ako for one year,” added the former Talk N Text guard.

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Being competitive again is indeed on top of Reyes’ priority list. And he might just achieve it quickly, as Reyes is also set to play for the Laguna Heroes in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

He may be performing double duties, but Reyes has his sights set on not just helping the Scratchers as one of their veterans, but on winning a championship in the D-League as well.

“I wanna be competitive again as far as I can make it — bahala na kung hanggang saan. I’m just gonna keep on working hard, but my priority for the D-League is to be a leader for this team,” he said

“I wanna win a championship in the D-League.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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