There’s no other feeling but elation for Pao Javelona, as his aspirations of making it into the PBA have finally come true this May, after he was called up and signed for the remainder of the season by the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Javelona was drafted back in 2016 by the Phoenix Fuel Masters, but was cut from the final roster that season. The six-foot guard from Bacolod, after being left out, took his act to the Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League.
But it was through the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League, that he earned his ticket to the Filipino pro league, as he played a huge role in the club team’s magical run that concluded with a championship.
“It feels good to be here. I’m happy I get to play in the PBA,” said the 25-year-old defensive specialist. “Sobrang saya ko. Actually, habang nagre-reply ako sa agent ko, si Boss Charlie [Dy], parang nanginginig yung kamay ko sa sobrang tuwa.
“I can’t really explain how I feel.”
Javelona made his PBA debut last Saturday, May 12, against the Magnolia Hotshots. GlobalPort lost, 87-92, but the former NU Bulldog had a decent outing as he finished with nine points, which all came from beyond the arc.
“Yung confidence lang, binigay ni Coach Pido [Jarencio nung first game ko with GlobalPort,” the 16th overall pick in the 2016 Rookie Draft reflected. “Sabi niya, ‘Just do what you do. If you’re open, just shoot it.’ So yun.
“Buti pumapasok tira ko nung first game.”
Javelona played his second game on Wednesday against the NLEX Road Warriors. They won this time around, 116-94, but he wasn’t able to emulate his first game outing, as he only had three points on four attempts.
But for Javelona, that is simply a part of his growth.
“Naga-adjust na lang ako ngayon sa mga plays namin at tsaka sa laro ng PBA, yung physicality. Hopefully next game makabawi ako, medyo masama yung laro ko,” said the one-time UAAP gold medalist, who played 11:37 minutes.
The break between his Alab stint and his PBA foray had been a short one. Javelona admitted that he has yet to fully recover from his ABL run, but he has no qualms, since playing in the PBA has always been his wish.
“Dapat uwi pa nga ako ng Bacolod after namin mag-champion. Wala lang pahinga, medyo bugbog pa yung katawan after nun. So kailangan lang kumayod kasi ginusto ko rin ‘to eh, pangarap ko rin makalaro dito,” he expressed.
“God’s will naman, nandito ako ngayon.”