PLAYING in his first year in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), GlobalPort Batang Pier rookie Von Pessumal said he is very excited over the opportunity given him. He, however, recognizes that building a steady PBA career is a process, which is why he is submitting to it every step of the way.
Selected by the port masters in a special draft for Gilas Pilipinas cadet members, the sweet-shooting Ateneo star shared that he is settling well in the local pro league, in part because of the style of play in the PBA and the role he is given in GlobalPort.
“I think the PBA throughout the years has evolved into a transition and fast-paced game from a slowdown and physical game before. I think it suits me well because back in college we play uptempo and so does in the national team. So I’m pretty much comfortable with it,” 22-year-old Pessumal told BusinessWorld in an interview.
“My role in the team is fit for me. Our offense under Coach Franz [Pumaren] also calls for outside shooters and I think I fit that part,” he added.
In nine games, as of this interview, the GlobalPort rookie is averaging 5.4 points and two rebounds per game in 14 minutes on the floor.
But just like any newbie, Mr. Pessumal said he is still learning the ropes as a pro player and making adjustments, including to the physicality in Asia’s first play-for-pay league and decision making.
“Physicality is much higher here because I’m playing against bigger and stronger players. They, too, are already veterans and can easily take advantage of the mistakes you do on the court,” he said.
The former Ateneo Eagle added that at this stage of his PBA career it is all about trusting the process and going through it.
“Definitely I trust the process. I’m new in the league and my mind-set is to get better every day. Whatever happens, I just do everything from my end and work hard to earn my keep,” he said.
He is also not putting much pressure on him, notwithstanding the great expectations that go with being part of the Gilas cadet and being drafted from a separate pool of players.
“The pressure is always there but if you think too much about it you are putting additional burden on yourself. So I just try to do what I can and play my game and continue to learn and improve,” Mr. Pessumal said.
KIEFER AND TERRENCE
When asked how is it playing with an explosive player like Terrence Romeo in GlobalPort, Mr. Pessumal said it may seem hard to adjust to, but in his case it is not so after spending years in college with the same type of player in Kiefer Ravena.
“When you look at them they play the same position, more of combo guards. Their command of the game is the same. When you give the ball to Kiefer, he can make plays and it’s the same with Terrence. It’s easy to give him the ball and he can make plays. I’m used to it and I know how to react to them,” he said.
As for being part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool of players, it is something that Mr. Pessumal takes pride in it and looks at it as very beneficial for his growth as a player.
“I’m very excited to play for the national team with the other players in the league. I’m looking forward to it because I believe I can learn a lot from my stint there. It’s a good opportunity for me to see where I am at as a player and use everything I learn from it. It is, of course, apart from having the chance to play for the country and make the Philippines proud,” he said.
He closed the interview out by saying that winning championships is one of his goals in the PBA and hopefully become known as a solid two-way player when everything is said and done.