Matt Salem was projected as a second-rounder in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft. However, come the proceedings on Sunday evening at Robinsons Place, Manila, he was picked last in the third round.
But the sweet-shooting forward out of the National University Bulldogs program has no problems with this. After all, the team that selected him is none other than the crowd darlings, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
“Everyone expected everyone to go at a certain pick. I don’t believe them. It’s up to God. God has everything in control and I just thank him. It’s a blessing in disguise. It’s amazing actually,” Salem beamed.
“I’m so happy right now!”
Playing for the team that has the biggest following in the league comes with plenty of pressure, since expectations are high. But the 2018 D-League Foundation Cup champion with Go for Gold is unbothered.
“You have a lot of expectations for every player. With me, playing with Ginebra, I’m going to start from the rock bottom, I’m going to learn their system, I’m going to do what I can, I’m going to get better and I’m going to work my way up like always,” said the National University product.
“I’m a hard worker. I never quit. I’m going to bring to the table what they want me to bring and get better from there.”
Salem knows that he has to earn his spot with the Barangay, given the amount of talent the team has – especially at the forward position. But for the 6-foot-3 Fil-American, he’ll look to learn from every one of his new teammates.
“I’m just going to learn from all the vets, honestly,” said the 25-year-old.
“I feel like my basketball IQ’s just going to boom now because it’s just amazing how many vets they have. Talking to those vets, studying what they do, this is a great opportunity for me to improve on my overall game.”
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