With Manila-Frontrow head coach Tino Pinat opting to sit out Gabby Espinas and Marvin Hayes in their Chooks-to-Go/MPBL bout against Parañaque-Yabo Sports last Tuesday, Jonjon Gabriel made sure to make the most out of the situation.
Gabriel, who stands at 6-foot-6, tallied 13 points and eight rebounds in 12 minutes of 33 seconds of action. More importantly, the product of Colegio de San Lorenzo poured 11 of his points in a 31-point first quarter, which paved the way for Manila’s 106-78 thrashing of Parañaque.
And his performance roots only from one thing — his goal to reach his full potential.
“Binigyan ako ng pagkakataon ni coach na makapaglaro kasi kailangan kong makabalik sa gusto kong laro. Pina-upo ‘yung mga beterano namin kaya ayun nga,” said the 26-year-old center, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 PBA Draft.
“Sobra pa kasi sa ‘kin, pangarap ko is makabalik pa sa PBA eh. Gusto ko pang umangat pa ‘yung laro ko.”
Figuring in free agency in 2019, Gabriel decided to go to the MPBL and join Manila-Frontrow.
With a lot left to prove, Gabriel vows to do whatever he can to bring the championship to the Stars.
“Go hard lang talaga sa practice, papakita ko lang kay coach na kaya ko maglaro sabay-sabay lang kami sa mga sistema niya.”
In other games, Davao Occidental-Cocolife spoiled Beaujing Acot’s coaching debut as it handed Makati-Super Crunch a 79-54 beating; while the Allyn Bulanadi-led Basilan-Jumbo Plastic bounced back from a tough loss to beat Cebu, 86-79.
Story by Jonash Dannug