WITHOUT A doubt the Philippines’ most popular basketball team with the most popular players, fans of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel would like to know more about their newest rookie draft pick, Raymon Jammer Jamito, the third overall selection in last Sunday’s (October 30) ceremonies held at Robinsons Place Manila. Unlike members of the national team whose names immediately rang a bell upon being called to stage, the 6’4” Jamito really needed an introduction.
No doubt, Jamito has the athletic skills needed to excel in the PBA as shown during the draft combine wherein he topped the agility tests while scoring well in the other tests that measured among others one’s vertical leap and upper body strength. He then played on the champion team of the mini tournament among the draft applicants and eventually earned a slot in the Mythical Five to further boost his stock.
By joining Barangay Ginebra, fans are reminded of the blue collar workers that laid the foundation for the immense fan support the team is enjoying today. Jamito has drawn comparison to the hardnosed players of old that played with minimal fanfare and glamour but got the job done on both ends of the court – think of fellow Bicolano Dante Gonzalgo and his contemporaries like the late Rey Cuenco.
Letting his game and performance serve as his introduction to the PBA coaches, managers and fans, his journey to the highest level of local basketball is quite interesting. Not bad for the 25-year old from Basud, Camarines Norte.
Jamito played three seasons from 2012 to 2014 for Saint Clare College of Caloocan in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) after transferring from Our Lady of Lourdes College Foundation in nearby Daet. He immediately made a splash in his debut season by helping the Saints win their very first NAASCU Seniors championship while being named the season’s Best Rebounder.
His effort did not go unnoticed as it led to PBA D-League stints Cebuana Lhuillier and Cagayan Valley. Saint Clare then forged a tie-up with Racal Motors in time for the 2014-2015 Aspirants Cup so Jamito hooked up with Coach Jinino Manansala and his fellow Saints.
The Racal-Saints union lasted for only three games with Coach Manansala getting fired after failing to score a victory. Still, Jamito finished the conference and the ensuing Foundation Cup under Coach Carlos Garcia and then took his talents to the newly-organized Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL), signing up with a Caida Tiles unit that went all the way to the Founders Cup championship series where they bowed to Jumbo Plastic.
However, Jamito was absent during his team’s championship stint as he was getting married to girlfriend Princess Joy. The couple has since been blessed with a son named Prince Jamme.
He then shuttled between leagues by signing with AMA Online Education where he blossomed as a double-double machine and then returning to the PCBL via Santa Lucia Realty. Jamito ended his amateur career on a winning note by helping Phoenix Petroleum annex the 2016 D-League Foundation Cup last August.
Jamito has already made history as the first alumni of Saint Clare to get drafted. He hopes to follow other NAASCU alumni in the PBA led by former Most Valuable Players Chito Jaime and Joseph Sedurifa and Bong Galanza.
The NAASCU scored well in the 2016 Draft with three other alumni getting their names called in Jiovani Jalalon of Informatics, Al Francis Tamsi of San Sebastian-Cavite and Cedric Ablaza of STI College. Jalalon was the 2011 Rookie of the Year while Ablaza was part of the 2012 Mythical Five.
For sure, the pressure to do well is immeasurable considering that the crowd darling Gin Kings are coming off a championship in the 2016 Governors’ Cup that ended their eight-year drought. But Jamito is willing to step up to the task and not disappoint the fans.