Know Your Bolts: Simon Atkins

Years in the PBA: 3
Joined Bolts in: 2014
Previous PBA teams: Air21 Express
Achievements: 2005 UAAP Juniors’ Finals MVP (De La Salle Zobel)

How did you get started with the sport of basketball?

My first sport was football (soccer). My dad’s British, so I had to play football first. In the village I didnt have friends because, they all played basketball, they didn’t want to play football with the white people. So I tried it out, and then eventually improved. Someone saw me playing in the village and asked me to try out in [De La Salle] Zobel, so it started there. I didn’t know anything about the PBA, UAAP, NCAA – nothing. For me, it was just a hobby. Then I started getting a scholarship, allowances, so it started there.

I found it interesting because, I said I wanted to play football, but I was really having fun playing basketball, so I had to give up football and just focus on basketball.

What is your favorite aspect of the game?

I love to compete. And you’re not only competing against your opponent. Like sometimes in training, you compete with your teammates, and I like that part of it. And proving someone that you’re better than him, i always like it. I always played with the older guys when I was younger.

What does it mean to you to be playing in the PBA?

It’s nice. It’s a job now. So it was a hobby and now it’s my job. We’re being paid to do something that we love. And at the same time, I’m competing with the top athletes here in the Philippines. So you wake up everyday and know that I’m gonna play against these guys and with these guys. I still think it’s the best job in the world.

What does it mean to be playing for the Meralco Bolts?

I love it here. I’m with some Gilas players, top players in the country. I like how they treat me here. I feel at home. Even if Coach Norman is from Ateneo, and Jai (Reyes) is from Ateneo, I still feel at home. Im very happy here.

Strengths you bring to the team:

I’m known for playing defense – pressuring. Even in high school and college I was really brought up to play that way. It’s a Pumaren system, so it’s always pressuring, defense, defense is number one. Offensively, it’s just really setting up my teammates. I’m not really a scorer, I love setting up my teammates. I feel good when they look good because of me. Syempre like Gary (David) – Gary’s a really good player, but he needs someone to set him up, so that’s what I love to do. If he scores 28 points because we run the play, i feel good. It’s better for me na assist than points.

What are your expectations with the team?

Well hopefully i get to play again. Hopefully we get to finish this year with a bang. I just want to play consistent good basketball, because I really don’t like to let Coach Norman (Black) down, and the management, especially my teammates also. Coach Norman expects a lot, even the little things and i wanna do it right. The past few games I was really playing bad. After my injury I was scared to get hurt again so I was hesitant, but now I’m all out, so we’ll see what happens.

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