PUTTING THEIR NAMES in the country’s premier professional basketball league are current San Beda Red Lions Clifford Jopia and Damie Cuntapay, along with four other Red Lions alumni in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 48 draft held at the Market! Market! Mall in Taguig City last September 17.
With 128 other aspirants all trying to get a spot in the esteemed ball club, Jopia and Cuntapay secured their slots in the country’s number one professional basketball league.
“Maganda sa feeling, ‘yon ‘yung isa sa mga pinaka-dream ko e,” said Jopia, as the six-foot nine big man of the Red Lions who is set in joining the Black Water Elite to boost their lineup in the PBA. “Papatunayan ko sa kanila kung deserving ba ‘ko o hindi,” he adds, following his third round second pick position in the drafts.
Meanwhile, with feelings of gratitude, the number one pick in the fifth round of the PBA draft, Cuntapay shared that he is “Sobrang thankful at excited na rin makapasok sa PBA. Natupad na rin isa sa mga goal ko,” as he finds company in Terrafirma Dyip.
“Ipapakita ko yung best ko, wala naman sa round yan, basta ako ipapakita ko na kaya ko makipagsabayan at patunayan na belong ako sa team,” Cuntapay eagerly shared as he sets to make a name of himself in the pros.
Aside from Jopia and Cuntapay, they were joined with a pack of former Red Lions such as the Kenmark Carino and James Kwekuteye who were the first and eight picks of the second round, third round first pick JB Bahio, and fourth round eleventh pick Franz Abuda.
As teammates-turned-rivals, Jopia shares that he looks forward to playing with Cuntapay in the pros. Sharing the same sentiment, Cuntapay points to Jopia as the player he looks forward to competing with in the PBA.
(with Mauri Fernandez)