Throughout his stay with the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, MJ Ayaay has always played beyond his height.
Standing at just 6-foot-1, the native of Quezon Province would silently finish with a high rebound count game in and game out. He ended his final season with averages of 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
Though painful, his journey with Lyceum had to end. He needs to move on to the next stage of his life.
Together with running-mate CJ Perez, Ayaay declared for the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft – the culmination of every aspirants’ dream.
“Excited na masaya kasi nandito na eh. Kumbaga, magtrabaho ka na lang.”
Heading into the combine, Ayaay tapped a personal trainer to further improve on his strength.
“Lagi lang ako nage-extra work. Hindi ako nabakante ng isang araw nun,” the 25-year-old disclosed.
On paper, it would be hard for Ayaay to replicate what he did in college in the land of the giants. But he is guaranteeing any team that drafts him that he will exert extra effort on the boards – just like his childhood idol Dennis Rodman, who was a sleeper back in the 1986 NBA Draft.
“Magagawa ko yun basta dodoblehin ko effort ko,” said the hard-working swingman.
“Kaya ko naman yun eh kasi ‘pag kaya ko, kaya ko!”