By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
WHILE much attention is being channelled to his rookie teammate and top pick CJ Perez in the run-up to Season 44 of the Philippine Basketball Association, incoming freshman JP Calvo is going about his business as he tries to find his place under the PBA sun and prove he belongs to play with the big boys.
Selected 11th overall in last year’s rookie draft by the Columbian Dyip, former Letran standout Calvo was one of the rookies signed by Columbian to a PBA contract, along with Mr. Perez and big man Jeepy Faundo, and set to embark on his league journey later week as the PBA opens its new season on Jan. 13 with the Philippine Cup.
Mr. Calvo said he is viewing the opportunity given to him with so much significance and that he cannot wait to get it started.
“Definitely this is a dream come true for me. Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to play in the PBA and now I’m here. I cannot describe how I fell. I’m just so excited to play in the professional league,” said Mr. Calvo in the vernacular as he gears up for the challenges that lie ahead for him in the PBA.
The 5’7” Calvo went on to say that he is determined to repay the confidence that Columbian has given him, vowing to give his all each time he takes the floor.
Being one of the smaller point guards in the league, the 21-year-old Calvo said he does not see it as too much of a disadvantage as he looks to compensate for it through hard work and a go-getting mindset.
“Even if I’m one of the smaller guards it does not define me as a player. I will work hard to achieve success in the PBA,” he said.
As to the physicality in the professional league, Mr. Calvo said he welcomes it and admitted it is something he is preparing for.
“I’m excited for it. I know entering the PBA that things will be tough, and rough. I’m preparing myself for it,” he said.
To accommodate Mr. Calvo as well as the team’s other rookies, Columbian has decided to unload some players, including the likes of Dylan Ababou, Carlo Lastimosa, and Dan Sara, which would allow the newbies greater chance to showcase what they can do, something Mr. Calvo expressed readiness for.
“I’m ready for whatever is asked of me. Of course, there is pressure but I’m not allowing it to get the better of me and how I play. I’m just going to try to play my game and help the team in every way I can,” Mr. Calvo said.
As Mr. Calvo begins his PBA journey, he will have a familiar face to turn to on the sidelines as his collegiate coach in Letran Jeff Napa is part of the Columbian coaching staff as one of the deputies of head coach John Cardel.
Last season in the PBA, the Dyip compiled a dismal record of 6-27 (.181).