Converge tabbed him with the 10th overall pick.
For someone still recovering from a major injury, BJ Andrade never expected to be drafted as high as the first round in the PBA Draft on Sunday.
But he still wound up in the said round after the Converge FiberXers used the 10th overall pick to nab the former Ateneo Blue Eagles standout.
“Hindi ko ine-expect na ganyan kataas kasi injured ako,” said Andrade, who suffered from a second ACL tear last February. “Ine-expect ko second o third round. Thankful ako na-pick ako ng first round.”
What’s more, he will now be with uncle and PBA legend Danny Ildefonso at Converge.
Andrade, who lived at the Ildefonso household since Grade 5, bared the Converge deputy coach played a key role in his development as a basketball player.
“Grabe po ‘yung influence niya sa basketball career ko. Siya nagturo sa’kin paano dapat laruin basketball,” he said of Ildefonso, who was temporarily elevated to a playing role for a stretch last season by Converge.
“Tsaka kung ano kailangan ko i-trabaho para mapunta ako kung saan ako ngayon. Maraming salamat sa kanya na hanggang ngayon gina-guide niya pa rin ako.”
And perhaps the most important lesson he got from the former San Miguel Beermen superstar was work ethic.
“Sa kanya namin nakuha ‘yung work ethic, kasi 'yun talaga bumuhay sa kanya sa PBA,” he said.
Lakay himself is glad to see Andrade blossom under his wings.
“Pinush ko lang nang pinush (si BJ). Nag-respond naman. Ayun, andito na siya ngayon sa PBA,” he said.
But Andrade will have to wait a little longer before he can hop back on the court again as he is expected to be cleared only in January next year. What’s important, though, is he’s in the PBA now.