Connect with us
[adinserter block="13"] [adinserter block="3"]

Ponferada enjoying chance to turn career around with Rain or Shine



A nervous Jewel Ponferada could barely speak when members of the media surrounded him after a career game against Barako Bull.

Perhaps he never envisioned himself to be in such position, after averaging only a measly 2.8 PPG over the last two seasons under Globalport Batang Pier in small minutes.

“Kinakabahan ako diyan,” Ponferada quipped. His nervousness grew and he shivered even more when camera lighting shone on him.

The workhorse had scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Rain or Shine’s 110-104 win over the Energy, both career-highs. He had earned his first best player of the game citation for the gallant effort.

After three seasons of going unnoticed, Ponferada is now enjoying a significant turnaround in his career under the Elasto Painters.

An off-season trade brought Ponferada to the mix, and Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao was so delighted to have him on the Elasto Painters squad that he was confident enough not to pick a big man during the 2015 PBA Draft.

“We looked at Norbert Torres, na malaki at kailangan rin namin, but with the Jewel (Ponferada)-Jervy (Cruz) trade, lumaki na kami and baka mapunuan na ang pangagailangan namin sa big,” Guiao said during draft day.

Guiao instead went with Maverick Ahanmisi, and Ponferada eventually earned his well-deserved break as an integral part of Rain or Shine’s frontline rotation.

“Siguro sipag lang sa practice, nakaka-convert naman. Minsan yung ibang play hindi ko pa rin kabisado. Dinadaan ko na lang sa sipag yung iba. Medyo nakukuha ko na rin naman ang sistema ni coach,” Ponferada said.

The center shared that when he was traded, he had felt nervous to be handled by Guiao, although he used it as an opportunity to grow and learn under the mentor.

“Nung na-trade ako, kinabahan ako. Kilala naman natin si Coach Yeng. Pero inexpect ko naman mabibigyan ako playing time. Iniisip ko na masisigawan ako pero pasok dito, labas dito na lang,” he said, pointing to each of his ears.

Over six games, the 13th overall pick back in the 2012 draft has averaged highs of 9.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG in close to 25 minutes per game.

“Wala naman siyang sinasabi, hinahayaan niya lang ako maglaro. Ginagawa ko lang ang best ko para makatulong sa team,” he added.

In less than 48 hours, Ponferada will square off against Barangay Ginebra’s towering duo of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. Already enjoying the ride, he hopes to do even more.

“Mahirap (bantayan) yan. Sisipagan ko lang,” he said.

Click to comment