Former collegiate star Jong Baloria, is glad to have a comeback in the country’s premier basketball league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Baloria was drafted by the Blackwater Elite in 2014, when he was taken as the 30th overall pick in the aforementioned draft class. In his first year as a pro, he went to NLEX Road Warriors after being dealt by his original team. Baloria had a hard time as he struggled getting minutes that made him a bench player in his first seasons. But then the following year, he was dealt once again, this time to Kia Floodbusters/Mahindra Enforcers where he played significant minutes but was not enough for him to be considered as a mainstay that put him out of the league in the early part of his career.
Baloria tried to pursue his basketball career in the semi-pro leagues after his short stint in the PBA. It was where he became a star player in every teams that he had played. Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) gave him the opportunity to shine once again where he played for the teams such as Parañaque, Pampanga, and Makati. Baloria became a major contributor to the teams that he played for. Then last season, he played for the Basilan Peace Riders of the Pilipinas VisMin Super League where he became an integral piece of their championship team.
As an avid fan of Philippine Basketball, I watched the Ato Ni Bai: Sports Connect of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, where Jong Baloria was featured as one of the guests. In his interview, he discussed his basketball journey from the start until where he is right now.
“Nung napunta ako sa PBA parang napabayaan ko yung sarili ko, kaya nawala ako,” said the 31-year old cager on his self reflections in his early part of career.
Baloria also mentioned his success in the VisMin Super Cup might have contributed to his PBA comeback. “Nung naglaro kami sa VisMin yung team namin sobrang ganda ng programa kumbaga nag-uusap-usap kami, sobrang ganda ng teamwork namin, talagang pag pinasok ka ipakita mo na deserved mo at pagtatrabuhan mo yung binigay sa’yong playing time”, added by the former Perpetual Altas star.
Baloria also shared his experiences in VisMin Super Cup after getting a call up in the PBA. “Mami-miss ko yung mga teammates ko sa Basilan, kasi yun nga para kaming magkakapatid syempre magkakasama kami sa hotel … especially si coach Jerson, yung owner talagang niyakap ko sila at nagpa-alam ako sa kanila, sabi nila syempre PBA yan eh unahin mo yan, support talaga sa akin si coach Jerson”, said Baloria.
Baloria is very glad to have a PBA comeback and is very eager to prove his talents once again in the biggest league in the country.