A month before hosting Lebanon in the World Cup Qualifers, Gilas Pilipinas hit the ground running on Monday.
Adamson University’s Jerom Lastimosa is being eyed to play the role of two-time Best Point Guard in Asia Jayson Castro at Gilas.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes bared the national team is looking to get a legitimate “spitfire guard” that could get the engine humming on offense.
“As you can see, we wanted to take a look at Jerom ‘cause we don’t have that real spitfire guard, that Jayson Castro role in this Gilas. We wanted to take a look at that,” said Reyes on Monday as the team began practice for the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers next month.
Lastimosa seems ready to be that guy.
Considered one of the best point guards in college today, Lastimosa got the Gilas call-up and joined naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee, six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, and other PBA and collegiate stars in practice at the Meralco Gym.
“Siguro 'yung both offense and defense, 'yun [ang] madadala ko dito sa Pilipinas Gilas,” said Lastimosa, whose college coach Nash Racela said last month his prized Falcon deserved a call-up, when asked what he can bring to the table.
Right now, though, he’s just relishing the moment to be in the presence of the country’s elite basketball players.
“Well, first of all, this is my first time sa Gilas Pilipinas, so sobrang saya kasi nakasama ko 'yung mga PBA players, mga ibang players, at ang mga dati kong kalaban sa UAAP,” he said.
Asked what this opportunity means to him, Lastimosa said he's honored to just be part of it.
“Lahat naman ng players panagarap nila 'to, so napakalaking impact ito na nasali ako sa Gilas Pilipinas,” he said.