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FIBA stint excites Newsome

The door of the Philippine Basketball Association finals may have already closed, but Chris Newsome is happy for the window of opportunity that opened up for him.

The 32-year-old playmaker said he is not taking anything for granted after getting included in the Gilas Pilipinas’ 24-man pool for the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers later this month.

Newsome will be joined by teammates Raymond Almazan and Allein Maliksi once they enter the Gilas training camp at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

San Miguel Beer stars June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, meanwhile, were excluded from the initial pool as they made it to the Philippine Cup finals against TNT Tropang Giga.

“Now, I can kinda look forward to that. Now that we’re done here, I’m excited to wear that (Gilas) jersey for five-on-five,” Newsome said after their 89-100 Game 7 loss to the Beermen on Wednesday.

“Hopefully, I can make that final roster from the pool. It will be a great experience for me and it’s for the country.”

Newsome is no longer a stranger in representing the country.

In 2019, the former Ateneo de Manila University guard joined the national squad with Perez, Mo Tautuaa and Jason Perkins in winning the gold medal in the men’s 3×3 event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila in 2019.

But now, he will be in a bigger stage — literally and figuratively — to make his case for the final roster that will face Lebanon and Saudi Arabia on 25 and 29 August, respectively.

Newsome will jockey for position against fellow PBA players like Scottie Thompson, Kevin Alas and Robert Bolick.

“I take the utmost honor and respect when it comes to serving the country. Everything that I did for Meralco, I will give to the country,” Newsome said.

“I’ll give it all out because I don’t know if this will be my last or just the beginning. We can’t take any moment for granted.”

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