As he bade goodbye to his fruitful UAAP career last season, former Ateneo sharpshooter Von Pessumal is starting to learn the ropes moving forward to the next big thing for him in basketball.
Now playing for the Tanduay Rhum Masters in the PBA D-League, Pessumal knows he is now in a different situation as he tries to prove his game and make a name of his own.
“It’s different, I won’t lie. UAAP is more on concepts and team basketball. In the pro level, you have to sell yourself as an individual and at the same time you have to find your way to be a team player,” said Pessumal, who finished with 12 points as the Rhum Masters beat Wangs Basketball on Thursday.
Pessumal was an integral part of Ateneo championship teams, both in the juniors and seniors divisions, playing alongside Blue Eagle superstars like hotshot Kiefer Ravena and big man Greg Slaughter.
“It’s refreshing for me because I never played in another team aside from Ateneo and the Philippine team, so it’s hard for me to get my groove at the start, but I think I got my rhythm back, got my confidence back,” said Pessumal, who also donned the national colors in the U16 FIBA Asia Championship 7 years ago.
The 6-foot-1 Pessumal has been known for his perimeter shooting, backstopping Ravena in scoring for Ateneo as he averaged 13.2 points per game in Season 78.
But as a player, he knows he can offer more than lighting up the rainbow arc.
“They [Tanduay coaches] keep telling me to shoot but I know I can play more than that, I can play D, I can facilitate, I can attack the basket but what’s good is that they keep telling me to shoot,” he said. “I’m gonna try my best to be a team player while scoring baskets.”
“I’m really working on is my overall strength and conditioning, I think that’s the biggest factor. Right now, I noticed players slimming down and getting stronger rather than bulking up and getting slower,” added Pessumal, a true-blue Atenean after studying in the Loyola school all his life.
While working on his fundamentals, he revealed that nothing is set in stone yet for his future after his D-League campaign.
“I can’t really say right now, so many things can happen before the draft day. I am also open to playing anywhere, maybe professional or the national team, whatever comes. I’ll be playing basketball for sure.” — By Jason Mercene