Re: Philippine Basketball Association Thread
Ryan Reyes: Next Big Thing in Amateur Basketball?
By REY C. LACHICA
HE ARRIVED in the country only last week and just played for two games for Henkel Sista in the PBL Unity Cup, but this early, Ryan Reyes is already being hailed by many as the next important player in the amateur league.
At 6-foot-1, Reyes is perfect for the role of a point-guard. He’s quick, strong and creative.
In the words of coach Caloy Garcia, the 23-year-old Reyes is manna from heaven.
"Hulog siya ng langit sa amin," said Garcia after Reyes powered the Super Sealers to a 67-61 come-from-behind win over San Miguel-Magnolia last Tuesday.
Playing only his second match, Reyes tallied 20 point on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and was perfect from the stripes, making all five attempts.
But what sets Reyes apart from his teammates is his ability to take over at crunch time. And to think that the guy has yet to trade cell phone numbers with his teammates.
"I just want to bring out the best from my teammates that’s why I played hard. I want to lead the team as long as I can help," said Reyes, a former high school teammate of Jason Kapono of the Miami Heat.
Reyes’ gung-ho brand of basketball has not escaped the attention of PBL Commissioner Chino Trinidad.
"May mapupuntahan ang batang ito, masipag at deadly sa perimeter," said Trinidad.
In his debut – also against Magnolia last Saturday – Reyes showed a glimpse of what he can do, logging in 18 points in just 16 minutes of action.
The comparison with PBA stars Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa could not be avoided.
"Pang showtime talaga siya," said Garcia.
But unlike some Fil-Americans whose behavior have raised eyebrows, Reyes appears to maintain an attitude dear to Filipinos.
"Ang bait na bata ito, hindi siya katulad ng ibang Fil-Am, walang reklamo ito sa katawan," said player-agent Charlie Dy.
Reyes is no stranger to the Philippine basketball.
Two years ago, he played for the national team then bankrolled by businessman Henri Jean Lhuillier. When the team disbanded, he went back to the United States to finish a degree in physical therapy at Cal State Fullerton.
When presented with another opportunity to play here, Reyes said he did not think twice and packed his bag to return to the Philippines after Sista made an offer he could not refuse.
"I really like to play here, so when I got an offer, I did not hesitate to come here," said Reyes, whose father hails from Batangas.
The PBA beckons for the talented Fil-Am, but he wants to don the national jersey first before making the big jump.
"If there’s an opportunity, why not," Reyes said.