JR Pasaol was not supposed to be part of Far Eastern University-Diliman’s boys’ 3×3 team this season.
Originally, the Baby Tamaraws were supposed to field VJ Pre, Kirby Mongcopa, Luke Felipe, and Dwyne Miranda. However, the latter two suffered injuries.
This made FEU-D head coach Mau Belen push the emergency button, calling Pasaol and Jedric Daa to join the team.
Pasaol did not have any problem adjusting to 3×3, according to Belen.
“He’s a very smart kid. We got along from the beginning. Hindi pa niya ko kilala, jinojoke na niya ko agad. Akala namin, he’s not going to come back and then when Dwyne got injured, he came back. A late turnaround,” she said.
Well, 3×3 also came naturally for the 19-year-old Pasaol.
JR is the younger brother of former Philippine No. 2-ranked 3×3 player Alvin.
Though he did not seek advice from his brother prior to the tournament, JR shared that he watched Alvin’s exploits during his stint with Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 — especially his classic game against Moscow during the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters.
“Pinapanood ko siya dati, lalo na nung naglabas siya nung dila. Na-enganyo ako nun na maglaro ng 3×3. Masayang maglaro ng 3×3,” he said.
JR dominated the field during the UAAP tournament, averaging 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds.
“Siyempre masaya, lalo na kasama ko ngayon yung lagi kong kasama sa paglabas, pag gawa ng kalokohan, at sa laro. Ngayon nakasama ko pa mag-champion sa first 3×3 ng high school. Masaya sobra,” he expressed.
Belen, who is also the head coach of TNT 3×3, sees a bright future ahead for JR.
And she hopes that despite the short time that they were together, the 6-foot-1 guard learned a lot from her.
“Johnrey is a very smart kid and he will have a great future ahead of him. I hope for about the six weeks we were together, he got my message on how he can be a good player moving forward,” she said as JR now joins the Tamaraws in preseason meets like the 2023 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup.