Well-documented has been the collegiate career of Justin Arana.
It was just seven years ago when Justin Arana was saddling in the bench of University of Santo Tomas.
In 2017, he took a gamble of a lifetime, transferring from Espana to Legarda as he studied and played at Arellano University.
“Yun nangyari sa UST, may plano lang talaga si God kaya nangyari yun,” said the soon-to-be two-time NCAA Defensive Player of the Year.
“Binigyan ako ng second chance ng Arellano at nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila. Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, wala ako rito.”
During the past two years, Arana built himself to be one of the top big men in the country, alongside the likes of Justine Baltazar, Carl Tamayo, and Ange Kouame.
And his journey culminated on Sunday afternoon during the 2022 PBA Rookie Draft.
Not only was he selected as the fourth overall pick in the draft by new team Converge but also called up to be part of the Gilas pool.
Definitely, the 23-year-old native of Basud, Camarines Norte has come a long way.
“Siyempre, sobrang saya ko at naging part ako ng pinaka bagong team. Sobrang excited ako sa parating na season. Eto talaga ang pangarap namin nung bata kami, yung makalaro sa PBA,” said Arana.
“Hindi ko talaga ine-expect yung sa Gilas kasi isang karangalan na makasama sa Gilas pool at kung paparalin marepresent yung Pilipinas. Sobrang laking tulong sa akin yun at gusto ko talaga ma-represent yung Pilipinas.”
And FiberXers head coach Jeff Cariaso has immediately called him to join the team’s practice tomorrow.
In Arana and third pick Jeo Ambohot, Converge got foundational pieces that will perfectly complement team ace Jeron Teng.
But for Arana, the work is just starting. And being the workhorse that he is, he is ready for the new grind.
“Start na kami kaagad bukas at magiging ready lang ako para maka-contribute ako sa team.”