Relatively unknown PBA aspirant Christian Geronimo not letting up on hoops dream
MANILA, Philippines – Christian Geronimo is probably the most unheralded among the 44 PBA rookie aspirants but he is not one to stop pursuing the dream he has been chasing since 2004.
Unlike his fellow PBA hopefuls who have set foot in the UAAP, NCAA, NAASCU, CESAFI and the D-League, Geronimo has not played in any major basketball tournament in the country.
But that fact did not stop him from joining the draft.
"Gusto ko talaga maglaro sa PBA, gusto ko rin magbigay inspirasyon sa mga nangangarap na makarating sa PBA," said Geronimo.
(I really want to play in the PBA. I also want to be an inspiration for those who are dreaming of reaching the PBA.)
The 5-foot-11 cager has already attended 4 colleges in more than a decade in hopes of finding a team to play for.
Geronimo was part of the Team B in Letran where he studied from 2004 to 2007 but failed to crack the Team A.
The Pasay City-native transferred to Adamson University but studied there for only a semester before enrolling at the Perpetual Help University under the Marketing Management program.
Geronimo transferred again, this time majoring in Broadcast Communication under the Open University program of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. But things still did not turn out well for Geronimo, as he was not included in the lineup that participated in the State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association even if he was part of the Team A.
His education and basketball careers were both not going into the direction Geronimo envisioned for himself that his mother told him to stop already.
"Minsan dumaan sa, ‘Anak, tigil mo na iyang paglalaro mo’ kasi nga financial problem tapos pabagsak-bagsak pa ako."
(It came to a point when Mama told me, ‘Stop playing basketball’ since we were also facing financial problems and I was failing in school.)
But for someone who has lived and breathed basketball his entire life, Geronimo knew that he could not just give up on the sport.
So when his coach at PUP told him to join this year’s draft, he immediately followed suit.
For family and lifetime dream
Admittedly a “bulakbol” (truant) earlier in his life, the 29 year-old credits basketball for giving him a direction.
"Kung hindi sa pangarap kong mag-PBA, hindi ako magpapakatino." (If it were not for my dream of reaching the PBA, I probably will still be like my old self.)
Geronimo worked as a sales agent for Mazda but left his job to prepare for the upcoming draft.
Now without a job, he is thankful that his 60-year-old mother, who still works as an insurance agent, has been supportive of him since he decided to join the draft. He hopes he can give back to her if he gets picked by any of the 12 PBA teams.
"Sabi ko sa lola ko, ‘Lola, ako na sasagot sa gamot mo,’” said Geronimo. “Kung kaya ko na siyang (Mama) buhayin, patitigilin ko na siya, makabawi bawi man lang ako sa kanila." (I told my grandmother, ‘Lola, I will take care of your medication.’ If I can already provide for my mother, I will get her to retire from her job and that will be my way of giving back to them.)
During the two-day PBA Draft Combine, Geronimo, together with Kiefer Ravena, Jason Perkins, Robbie Herndon, Lervin Flores, Chris de Chavez and Mykiel Cabahug, was part of the team that reigned as champions in the mini-basketball tournament.
Their team received P75,000 in cash for winning the title and Geronimo plans to give his share to his mother and grandmother.
"Ang dami kong natutunan sa mga teammates ko, sa mga coaches, sa mga naging kaibigan ko dito. Day 1 pa lang, talagang hindi ko naramdaman na kahit mga sikat na sila, pinapalakas nila yung loob ko, binabati nila ako." (I learned a lot from my teammates, my coaches and from all the friends I made in this event. Even if it was only the first day, I never felt that I was different from them even if they are famous. They boosted my confidence and they were always greeting me.)
Days before the PBA’s annual rite of passage, Geronimo is satisfied even if he gets drafted or not.
"Kung walang kukuha sa akin sa PBA, D-League. Talagang basketball, ball is life. Basketball lang ‘yung alam kong gawin." (If no one will get me in the PBA, then I will go to the D-League. Ball is life. Basketball is the only thing I know.)
“Ang dami ko nang pinagdaanan sa basketball na ito, bakit pa ako susuko, 'di ba?” (I went through so much for basketball, why would I give up now?)
The PBA Draft is on Sunday, October 29 at the Robinsons Place Manila. – Rappler.com