John Amores' road to redemption continues in PBA Draft

John Amores looks to apply the lessons he learned from his infamous moment in his jump to the PBA. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—John Amores could have been a bonafide collegiate basketball star, but instead, he became popular for the wrong reason, that is, his infamous meltdown during Jose Rizal University's NCAA second-round meeting against College of St. Benilde.

With his career suddenly in limbo, the Zamboanga Valientes took a chance and signed him up for its ABL campaign last year, effectively turning him pro even if he still had one year left with the Heavy Bombers assuming he gets cleared to play his final NCAA year.

After his stint with Zamboanga was done, Amores joined Muntinlupa for the ongoing MPBL season, and the team is currently looking to seal its place in the playoffs.

Amores is thankful that the said professional teams welcomed him to their fold despite the consequences that could unfold like the mixed reactions from the fans on why they still accepted him.

"Thankful ako na may mga teams na sa kabila ng nangyari sa akin, nandyan sila para i-accept ako at tulungan ako na makabalik sa paglalaro," he said on Wednesday.

However, the six-foot-two swingman now looks forward to the next step in his bounce-back journey: possibly making the PBA.

Amores is among a record 128 basketball players who signed up for the draft, and as a requirement, he attended the PBA Draft Combine over the midweek at the Gatorade Hoops Center here.

"Masaya ako kasi nandito na ako at nakasama sa draft combine," John Amores said.

To further improve his game, especially on the emotional side since he is entering the PBA, which is known to be more physical and tense at times, Amores said that he is still undergoing sports psychology and anger management sessions.

"Yun yung nakatulong sa akin kasi mas in-improve nya kung ano yung pagkatao ko na nailabas ko," he further said.

John Amores then thinks he is now ready to brave through more emotional games.

"Tingin ko naman sa sarili ko, kahit naman alam natin na ang basketball ay physical, kaya ko nang i-control ang sarili ko na di na mangyari yung dati ito yung lagi kong nire-remind ko sa sarili ko: pag nangyari siya uli, wala na. Sobrang sira na career ko," Amores further said.

John Amores tested early into pro career

However, John Amores admitted that he was tested during his ABL stint especially when he was tasked to mark the opposing team's imports.

"Marami sa aking napikon na mga import. Nire-remind naman kasi ako ng mga coaches ko kahit dito sa MPBL na di na dapat mangyari [yung dati]. May guidance sila sa akin kung ano yung kailangan kong iwasan na di na dapat mangyari kasi ginagawa sa'yo yan para masira yung laro mo. Ganun yung pinaparating sa akin ng coach ko. Talagang ang laking tulong ng mga coaching staff na naka-guide sa akin," Amores further said.

Another feisty moment happened in the MPBL when John Amores bumped and exchanged words with James Kwekuteye while he was trying to pacify things between him and JL Delos Santos during the heated game between the Cagers and the Bacoor City Strikers at the Strike Gym in Bacoor on July 5.

However, already learning his lessons from his amateur days, Amores quickly made amends with Kwekuteye, who was his teammate with the Valientes.

"Nag-apologize naman ako kay James na, 'Bro, I apologize for what I did.' Dating magkakampi kami. Nadala lang ako. Gusto ko lang umawat. Masyado nang mainit yung game," John Amores continued.

Early mock drafts don't have him making at least the second round of Sunday's draft proceedings at the Market Market Activity Center in Taguig mainly due to the depth of the draft class, but he could be a sleeper pick for teams who need some defensive toughness at the wings.

"Gagawin ko lang kung ano ang makakaya ko. Sisipagan ko pa. Mas magpupursigi pa ako kung ano ang matutulong ko sa team, which is yung depensa ko," Amores vowed.

He then said that he would also work on his ball handling and shooting knowing that he might slide to the shooting guard spot when he gets drafted into the PBA.

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