Jaboneta wants to inspire more province-based players to dream big
If there is a proverbial wall that separates Metro Manila from the provinces of the Philippines, then JanJan Jaboneta may have broken through it.
Before he entered University of the Philippines, Jaboneta made his name in the Visayas as part of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu.
Jaboneta wasn’t a highly-touted recruit but had a chip on his shoulder that grew into a boulder whenever the Magis played against a team based in Metro Manila, and that determination and will to win was what fueled the 6-foot-1 forward to prove that “promdis (born in provinces)” can duke it out with the teams in the capital.
“Us province kids always had that will to win especially when we faced teams here in Manila,” said Jaboneta in Filipino during the tip-off weekend for this year’s Jr. NBA camp Saturday at Don Bosco in Makati.
“Before I would just watch the teams in the NCAA and the UAAP on the television and I will tell myself ‘yeah they’re good’ but when we get a chance against them we want to prove that we can win.”
Jaboneta’s final game for the Magis was a testament to that belief when he unloaded 27 points in the finals of the 2015 National Basketball Training Center in an 82-78 win over NCAA powerhouse San Beda.
“When you say province basketball, there’s always an assumption that we’re just playing on the streets, but we want to show that we can play and we can win against teams here in Metro Manila,” said the Antique-grown Jaboneta who is a Jr. NBA alum.
And now that he’s a Fighting Maroon, Jaboneta said he wants to serve as an inspiration to the kids in his home province and all while keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I’m still a normal student and a normal athlete even though I’m playing for UP,” said Jaboneta. “And I think I want to become an inspiration for the younger kids in Antique. What I do is tell them how I got here, I think that’s the least I can do for them.”
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