Playing for La Salle in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney remains a remote option for Filipino-American forward Jason Perkins—at least for now.
The 6-foot-4 Perkins told FOX Sports on Tuesday night that he’s really considering to skip his 4th and final year with the Green Archers as he tries to make the big jump to the pro ranks through this year’s PBA Rookie Draft.
“I’m not too sure if I will play for La Salle because I am really focused on playing in the (PBA) D-League right now and I might take (part) in the draft this year,” said Perkins after helping powerhouse Caida defeat University of the Philippines-QRS/Jam Liner 118-86 at the Filoil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Although he has not been attending the practices of La Salle, the 23-year-old forward admitted he has already talked with new Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo about his immediate plans.
“We had a couple of conversations but right now I haven’t really been practicing with La Salle because I’m doing much of my D-League stint,” said the Shakopee, Minnesota native who played a key role in the Green Archers’ title run in 2012 under the tutelage of Juno Sauler.
“He is a really nice guy and I was able to talk to him for a couple of times. I think he’s a really good coach,” added Perkins, referring to Ayo, who steered Letran to the NCAA seniors cage crown at the expense of San Beda last year.
While Perkins’s return to the Taft-based remains up in the air, the Green Archers could get a major boost if and when towering center Arnold Van Opstal—according to a reliable Fox Sports source—decides to make a comeback after skipping last year’s UAAP battle due to an Achilles injury.
The 6-foot-7 Van Opstal could help boost an already fearsome frontline that includes Prince Rivero, Larry Muyang, Abu Tratter and highly-touted Cameroon import Ben Mbala, a former MVP of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders camp in Africa.
The top draft pick in this year’s D-League draft, Perkins added he’s bent on repaying the trust given to him by Caida, led by head coach Caloy Garcia, while taking the needed steps to sustain his personal development.
“Personally, I want to get better. I’m really glad on the team that I’m playing with right now. In Caida, there’s a lot of older and smart players like Dexter Maiquez and Jio (Jalalon). Although he (Jalalon) is one of the younger players, he’s really a very smart guy. I have pretty much to learn with coach Caloy and be a better all-around player on all aspects,” Perkins said. — By Jerome Lagunzad