By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
One of the most decorated small forwards in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is ready to take his talents in the upcoming season of the Japan B. League.
Jay Washington, the first overall pick during the 2005 PBA Rookie Draft, signed with the Ryukyu Golden Kings and is expected to play in the 2022-2023 season.
Washington was one of the most versatile swingmen the PBA has ever seen and made a name for himself during his heydays with the San Miguel Beermen.
In his 17-year professional career, the 40-year-old veteran won a total of four PBA championship titles, two Best Player of the Conference awards, and was a member of the first Mythical Team three times.
However, Washington’s career took a downfall after suffering several nasty injuries that limited some of his athletic abilities and was traded to four teams after his stint with the Beermen.
Washington spent some time with the TNT Tropang Giga, the Blackwater Elite, Rain or Shine Elastopainters, and the NorthPort Batang Pier before becoming a free agent at the start of the PBA Season 47.
Before considering playing in Japan, Washington rendered his services to the Pretty Huge 3×3 squad in the 2022 Thai Super League basketball tourney.
Washington is expected to bring his veteran leadership and improved outside shooting to the Golden Kings that lost the championship series against Utsunomiya, 2-0.
The Golden Kings are consistently one of the best teams in the B. League and finished the past season with an impressive 49-7 win-loss record.
Washington will be joining Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Dwight Ramos, and Kobe Paras as the only Filipinos to play under the Asian player quota rule.