Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hears the teasing but remains locked into the task at hand
There is no doubt that TNT importer Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of Barangay Ginebra fans through two games of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors Cup Finals. .
The boo birds have been out since the start of the Championship Series, but Hollis-Jefferson’s response shows he’s unfazed by their feelings.
“I love them too,” Hollis-Jefferson said.
Ginebra fans are far from happy with what they’ve heard from Hollis-Jefferson’s media interviews since he came on to replace Jalen Hudson.
But the big issue that upset multiple Barangay fans was Hollis-Jefferson’s comment about Justin Brownlee after TNT’s victory over Ginebra in the eliminations.
“No discredit for Justin, but I’m fine. You can put LeBron in front of me, I’m fine,” he said after their first meeting on March 17 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City, which saw TNT win, 114-105, and take first place heading into the playoffs.
Brownlee offered no retort to Hollis-Jefferson’s remarks, although the latter, after that same game and before the start of the final, did praise the longtime play of backup Ginebra.
Mocking is one of the elements that Hollis-Jefferson and the Tropang Giga hope to get rid of as they aim to unseat the Gin Kings, who have reigned in the end-of-season conference for the past two editions.
“I’m mentally ready for whatever is thrown at us,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “I feel like we have a great group of guys who are ready to go all the way and accomplish what we are asked to accomplish.
“At the end of the day, that’s all we have to do, to give it our all. And the result will be the result. It doesn’t matter as long as we leave everything on the ground, that’s fine with me, ”added the reinforcement who has one thing that motivates him.
The 28-year-old has never won a championship during his globetrotting professional career that began in 2015 when the Brooklyn Nets selected him 23rd overall in the NBA draft.
He made four playoff appearances with the Nets, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trailblazers, but never made it past the conference semifinals.
A championship also eluded him at Turkish side Besiktas and Puerto Rican side Atleticos de San German ahead of the TNT gig. He hopes to get the ultimate reward in Manila.
“I’m really passionate about it [and] extremely locked up,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “It’s been my lifelong dream, to win a professional championship. The work didn’t start going into the PBA, it started when I was five years old.
“So I feel like I’m well prepared, my mindset. Everything I’ve been through has shaped me to be in this position.
To subscribe to MORE APPLICANT to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.