After being left out in the last two windows of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Chris Newsome finally gets a chance to crack the Gilas Pilipinas roster that will see action in the men’s basketball event of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games starting Tuesday at the Elephant 2 Hall of Morodok Techo Indoor Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Newsome said he will do everything he can to make the final roster as the possibility of being part of the team that aims to regain the gold medal excites him.
“It feels good, always a blessing to represent the country,” Newsome, who won a gold medal in the 3×3 event in the 30th biennial meet in Manila, told Daily Tribune.
“I have one window with Gilas with Jordan Clarkson and Kai (Sotto). That was a great first experience for me. Come Window 5, some unfortunate things happened and it’s time for me to kinda step back and focus on my health.”
With more time to play in the Gilas pool, Newsome is making sure that he will not miss a practice. In fact, he is thankful to be brought into the training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy for the twice-a-day training sessions for the biennial meet.
“Here we are, at the pool again. I’m healthy,” Newsome said.
“Here’s another opportunity. We’re missing a lot of guys from the previous windows, but that’s understandable as a lot were in the (Philippine Basketball Association) finals, a lot has injuries. Nonetheless, I’m excited to show what I can do. Any time I step on that court, I’m gonna give everything I have and now it’s a great time.” Turn to page D23
With reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson begging off due to family issues and Roger Pogoy being sidelined by a fractured pinky, Newsome had a solid shot of making the final lineup together with CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Aaron Black and Jerom Lastimosa.
“We all have the talent. A lot of us can score. But when it comes to how we can work together, to get the gold back, that’s on my mind right now,” Newsome said.
“The team mission is redemption and the Filipino people would love to have that gold back at home.”
“I’m also excited to play in my first SEA Games in the five-on-five as I played in the 3×3 the last time around.”