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MANILA, Philippines – Former La Salle star and UAAP MVP frontrunner Schonny Winston was one of 2023 PBA draftees who surprisingly slipped through the cracks and ended up as the ninth overall pick with the Converge FiberXers.
Defying high pre-draft expectations as other teams snagged up big men and forwards, the 25-year-old combo guard remained grateful that his name was called nonetheless and is raring to go to work with his new teammates.
“I was drafted where I was drafted and I’m thankful for it. The team that wants me is the team that has me, so I can’t be mad at that. I’m happy that they drafted me and I’m ready to go and be with them,” Winston said after the draft.
The 6-foot-4 do-it-all guard is also excited to erase battle lines among old UAAP rivals, including new teammate and former Ateneo key cog BJ Andrade.
“I’ve seen a lot of them. We’re all ready to compete and we’re all excited. BJ was one of our rivals in Ateneo and now he’s a teammate of mine, so it’ll be fun,” continued Winston, who will also be joined by familiar faces like Ateneo’s Inand Fornilos and UST’s Bryan Santos if ever they get formally signed.
Winston, though, won’t get a chance to team up with former La Salle stalwart Jeron Teng, who parted ways with the team after failing to agree on contract-extension terms.
Putting fans’ valid worries at bay, Winston also confidently declared he is fully healthy from his lower leg issues and ready to show the MVP form that skyrocketed his stock in his final UAAP rodeo.
“I’m no longer hurt. I’m ready to compete and ready to play,” he continued.
“I was back in the [United] States finishing my rehab, and after finishing my rehab, [I was] just getting my back in shape and up to performance to be ready to go out there and compete again.”
Prior to his major injury, Winston was putting up superstar averages of 21.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and a whopping 3.0 steals in the Season 85 first round.
In the second round, however, his numbers took massive hits as he frequently made 2-to-3-second appearances late in the season just to maintain the minimum games required for MVP contention. – with a report from Joaqin Valencerina/Rappler.com