By Jayson Perkins
Not long ago, I was sitting on my couch in college, up to no good obviously, browsing around on YouTube when I stumbled across La Salle basketball videos and came to find out how basketball crazy the Philippines is.
My longtime mentor, Ethan Petrill, who is now a wine taster and male ballerina, shared his knowledge and words of encouragement to me and soon I was on the plane the next day.
My name is Jason Perkins and I just turned 25 years old. I am from Shakopee, Minnesota. I went to De La Salle University with a major of sports management and shenanigans. After college I managed to rack up two championships in UAAP, two championships for Cignal in the PBA D-League and two thumbs up for basically being the man.
My journey to the PBA was not too bad basically because I was just going with the flow the whole time, a whatever happens happens kind of attitude (que sera sera). With the different stages of competitiveness between leagues I had to grow and adjust myself physically as well as mentally.
A teammate of mine told me a phrase once, "be true, love what you do." The most difficult part was all the hours I had to put in to get to this point, but since I love what I do I didn't notice how difficult it actually was.
Leading up to the draft, I had a daily routine I would do to make sure I'd be prepared for the combine. My skills trainer, Mark Geli, would help me out in Lyceum in the mornings- we would get going at around 4:30 am. After my first workout I would head to Golds Gym to get up some free throws and work on my post move sequences.
Later in the day around 3 o'clock I would head over to Pinnacle Performance with my old roommate, Josh Webb, to lift weights with our trainer Diego Lozano. Also, with the constant traveling throughout the day I'd always carry a book with me for the traffic just to feed my mind a bit.
The physical test of the combine went as expected- I did not do well. After the testing, we later had a little tournament- we ended up winning and I managed to make the mythical 5. Following all of the pre draft stuff was just the waiting game from there on out.
During the draft I sat by Jeron and Andreas, beneath my barong was one big conglomerate of sweat and stank. I was nervous at the time but was confident I would go somewhat high.
I asked Jeron why I was so nervous and he replied, "We did a lot in our lives to lead up to this moment we're in now." I thought, "Damn Jeron Teng, you're woke."
Before they called my name, my hands were sweaty and I distinctly remember watching the stairs and seeing where I would have to walk making sure I would not fall on the way to the stage.
I had no idea when they were going to call my name but when they did I wasn't thinking about anything- I was fully consumed in the moment. I remember I was smiling the whole time, the smile was a mix of happiness and the awkward nervous smile.
As I was sitting at the table with my coaches and teammates, I was subdued with a feeling of triumph. Comparing where I was last year -- I went from playing four minutes a game in the UAAP to being drafted fourth in the PBA. I worked hard for that and I was proud of myself.
If I could give one piece of advice to someone younger on a journey similar to mine I'd tell them to be optimistic about everything in life. Look at obstacles differently than others.
Then if there is an obstacle you cannot get around, figure out a way to go over it. If there is a negative situation that comes your way, figure out how to turn it into a positive one. Make sure you are not too open minded though, otherwise your brains will fall out.