CEBUANO big man Barkley Eboña is well aware that he still has a lot to learn about playing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Fortunately though, he has a few astute mentors in Alaska Aces veterans Sonny Thoss and Vic Manuel to help him make a resounding impact in his rookie year.
Picked fourth in the fourth by the Aces in the 2019 PBA Draft, Eboña is expected to be a key piece in Alaska’s frontcourt given the uncertainty surrounding the availability of Thoss who has already hinted of retirement. Eboña said he is learning a lot from both Manuel and Thoss about the ins and outs of the pro game, especially in the shaded lane.
"Si Kuya Vic Manuel and Kuya Sonny Thoss, gina-guide nila ako kasi pare-parehas kaming big man na tatlo. Silang dalawa, gina-guide nila ako sa ilalim, sa mga laruan sa ilalim (Vic Manuel and Sonny Thoss guides me because we’re all big men. Those two guide me in how to play inside)," the 22-year-old who previously played for Far Eastern University and Cebu Institute of Technology-University was quoted as saying on the league’s official website.
In Thoss, who’s a fellow Cebuano, Eboña has a three-time champion, 12-time All-Star and two-time Mythical Five member to show him the ropes. Thoss spoke of retirement but Alaska management has appealed to the 38-year-old to defer his plans and play one last season. It remains to be seen if Thoss will be available when the league restarts later this year.
Manuel, on the other hand, has become the Aces’ most formidable weapon. Acquired in 2014, the man known as the “Muscleman” has become Alaska’s main interior force.
Eboña, however, admitted to idolizing two fellow FEU products: Marc Pingris and Arwind Santos.
"Sila ang mga hinahangaan ko sa PBA. Si Kuya Marc, grabe kasi yung puso niya na maglaro, grabe yung hustle niya. Si Kuya Arwind ganun din. Hindi naman siya kalakihan, pero kaya niyang sumabay sa mga big man sa PBA (They are the ones that I really look up to in the PBA. Marc plays with a lot of heart and hustle. It’s the same thing with Arwind. They aren’t that big but they can go toe-to-toe with all the big men in the PBA)," said Eboña. (JNP)