Jonnel Policarpio

Jonnel Policarpio Explains Last-Minute Decision To Go Pro

For former DLSU Green Archers forward Jonnel Policarpio, family comes first.

Jonnel Policarpio was expected to be part of the De La Salle Green Archers squad that would be tasked to defend their men’s basketball crown in UAAP Season 87. Although he had initially said earlier in the year that he wasn’t returning to Taft, he immediately changed course a day later and declared he was, in fact, all in for a back-to-back.

Policarpio even suited up for La Salle in two preseason tournaments, which culminated in a runner-up finish in the FilOil Preseason Cup. All seemed well, until he surprisingly announced last week that he was joining the PBA Season 49 Rookie Draft.

The move caught everyone off-guard, but for the talented forward, the choice was clear. Even though he won’t turn 23 until December, Policarpio already has a baby to think about.

Para sa family ko, may baby na rin ako and yung family ko,” he told the assembled media on the first day of the Rookie Combine. “Gusto ko mabigyan ng oras naman sila.”

Policarpio played just one season for the Green Archers, providing quality minutes and just under eight points per game last season. He was a star player for the Mapua Red Robins in the NCAA before committing to La Salle for college.

While his Season 86 stats didn’t blow anyone away, he possesses a unique skill set that makes him an intriguing prospect for the 12 teams drafting on Sunday. Policarpio has the ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot from the outside, and he has good handles for someone of his size. He came in at just under 6’5” and his vertical leap was measured at 38 inches in the biometrics part of the combine, attributes that are highly valued at his position.

What’s more, he has a championship pedigree.

Malaking experience ito para sa akin. Pagpunta dito sa pro, marami akong matutunan, lalo na sa big league.”

While DLSU coach Topex Robinson was sorry to see him go, he wished his former player well.

Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Hopefully, yung mga natutunan mo sa akin, madala mo sa big league.’ Para sa akin, sobrang blessing na naging coach ko si Coach Topex kasi on and off the court, tinutulungan niya ako. Marami akong natutunan sa kanya sa buhay. Hindi lang sa basketball.”

Interestingly, Policarpio is the youngest among the 70 applicants; he turns 23 on December 16. But that doesn’t concern him.

Siguro hindi ko na iniisip yun kasi nilalaro ko lang yung laro ko and sinisipag lang ko ready ako and sa condition ko.”

Policarpio said he is more than ready for the physicality and mind games that are prevalent in the PBA.

Siguro yung matulong sa kung saan man ako mapunta, yung commitment ko, 100%. And yung bibigay ko yung best ko every game, every practice. Para sa akin, siguro yung sa mind games and yung defense. Yung shooting.

Puede naman ako kahit anong ipalaro sa akin kung saan na lang ako napapuntang team. I’m ready to play any game whatever the team is going to be. Guard man or forward.”

Banner Image courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau.

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