After being idle for two years, Michael Burtscher is finally getting a chance to prove his worth in the PBA.
Inserted by B-MEG into the lineup after an injury to starter Joe Devance, Burtscher provided energy in limited minutes in his team’s 90-75 win over the Alaska Aces on Friday.
“First of all, I’d like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to play again in the PBA. I’m very happy to be given a second chance. I’m really overjoyed and thankful playing for a wonderful organization,” said Burtscher.
Burtscher was a surprise sixth overall draft choice by Alaska in 2009. It was a triumphant moment for the young forward, redemption after he suffered a knee injury in the amateur ranks that threatened his career. While doing rehab work, he supported himself and his young family by working as a call center agent.
But things didn’t go smoothly once he got to the pros. He had another knee injury, and was stuck behind Alaska’s loaded forward rotation.
He spent the past two years as a practice player for the Aces. Earlier this month, Burtscher sought a release from the Aces to try out for a spot at B-MEG, which is coached by Tim Cone, who drafted him at Alaska.
“They agreed when I told them that this could be a good opportunity for me,” Burtscher said of Alaska. “So I was happy when I got my release.”
It proved providential as Burtscher finally got an opportunity to be part of the team’s active lineup after Devance’s injury.
“It was only a few days ago when Mike got his release and finally he got his opportunity when Joe Devance got injured, so we inserted him in the line up,” said Cone.
“He’s a nice kid. He knows my system and he will do whatever you told him to do on the floor.”
Cone said Burtscher will be given more opportunity while Devance is recuperating.
“His minutes depends on how Joe will recuperate, but I’m pretty much sure Mike will find his spot in this team because he’s such a nice kid and a hard worker.”