ANTIPOLO – Raymar Jose could be seen sporting a much leaner frame now and that’s thanks hugely to the influence of Meralco’s elder statesman.
The 29-year-old workhorse disclosed that he’s gone from 105 kilos to around 90 to 92 at present as he made a conscious effort to shed weight late last PBA season, plus the constant guidance from the evergreen Reynel Hugnatan.
Discipline is unquestionably what the lefty veteran embodies, especially with how he’s managed to still play at a high level even at 43 years of age.
“Sa team namin, kahit hindi kami ginagamit, si kuya Reynel Hugnatan nandun e, nagga-guide samin na kahit ‘di tayo ginagamit dito, work out kami every day,” said Jose. “Andyan pa rin siya, nagsisipag pa rin kami.
“Nag-diet talaga ako nung last conference pa, nung before mag-start yung quarterfinals. Mga two months ko siyang ginawa. Bale hindi ako nagra-rice. Wala akong rice, walang sweets. Two months ko siya ginawa.”
Bolts head coach Norman Black himself could attest to the commitment the 2018 third overall pick has shown, the reason why he has been rewarded with more minutes on the court in the ongoing Philippine Cup.
“I think he has slimmed down, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I think more than just losing the weight, he’s in great condition. And he pretty much did that on his own. He came back from the break in great condition.
“Before we went on a break in the last conference against Ginebra you could already see he was making strides, and eventually I was gonna have to give him playing time because he was starting to fit in very, very well with the team.”
Jose had gone on to reap the benefits of the work he’s been putting in as he came up with his best performance of the conference to date.
On Thursday, the Far Eastern University product flirted with a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds alongside a steal and a block, helping the Bolts deal NorthPort another defeat, 97-87, to get back on track.
Black lauded his ward’s outing, even going as far as saying that the former ASEAN Basketball League import’s energy was reminiscent of Cliff Hodge’s.
“I’m just rewarding him for the way he practices every day. The energy that Toto brings to the court is almost like having a mini Cliff Hodge out there,” he said.
Jose, however, said that he just did what he could to step up, especially with Meralco missing Raymond Almazan due to health protocols.
“Ready lang naman ako kasi lalo na si Raymond wala,” he said, “so sabi ni Coach kailangan namin mag-step up, so kulang kami sa bigs. Si Kyle Pascual wala, so kailangan namin mag-step up kung sino ‘yung mga natira.”
Still, the work doesn’t stop for the Cebuano big man. In fact, he’s actually set to add a little more pounds, and then maintain as much.
“Ano ako e, 105 kilos, tapos mga nasa 90, 92 na lang ako. Target ko ngayon mga 95 siguro. Nasobrahan eh,” he added, smiling.
The second game of each gameday is also live-streamed on SMART Sports.