Raphael Jalnaiz is a member of the Greenville University Panthers Men’s Basketball Team. Jalnaiz, who is originally from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, moved to the United States when he was 11 with the hope for a better future. Jalnaiz currently lives in Long Beach, California, and he hopes to go back to Philippines after college to play basketball professionally. Basketball is the cornerstone for Jalnaiz, who desires to play in the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA). “Going back home and being able to play in the PBA will be a dream come true because I love basketball and I love the grind,” said Jalnaiz. The grind is very difficult in basketball, especially when transferring from a junior college, La Harbor College, to continue to play basketball at a higher level at Greenville University.
Adversity is nothing new to Jalnaiz, who is listed at 5’9″. Although his height might seem like it would be a challenge, he is currently averaging 11 points per game and shooting 93.8% from the free throw line. “I play hard and get my inspiration from my parents because it makes them very happy to watch me play. Putting smiles on their faces as their son is my goal, and it makes memories I can treasure forever,” said Jalnaiz. Family comes first for Jalnaiz, and he plays for them. His motivation is showing, especially in his recent game against Blackburn College in which he scored 13 points.
Transferring to Greenville University from Long Beach can be a major culture shock for some, but Jalnaiz has been enjoying his time here. When asked why Greenville, Jalnaiz said, “I chose Greenville because I was recruited to come here, and they also had my major. Second, Dr. George Barber emphasized that their main priority is making sure that I earn my degree, and it seemed like he really wanted me to be apart of an organization. It felt nice”.
The men’s basketball team was fortunate enough to be able to play basketball this year, and Jalnaiz’s favorite moment was when they played Murray State on ESPN. NBA guard Ja Morant was even in attendance. “Although it was a tough match, playing on live tv was fun and something I can never forget. Plus, to play in front of my favorite, Ja Morant, was a dream come true,” Jalnaiz commented. Not everyone gets this opportunity, and hopefully, the men’s basketball team will get to play on live tv again next year.
Going into the second half conference play, Jalnaiz expects nothing less than the team to be playing at their highest level. “The conference title is so wide open, but as long as we stay together and focus, I believe we are going to bring the conference championship back home to Greenville,” he said. With the men’s basketball team currently listed in fourth place, there are still enough games for the Panthers to come out on top and take home the championship.
Media by Darrin Stewart