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Edu, Oftana to settle unfinished business


AJ Edu and Calvin Oftana aim to settle an unfinished business when they see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Basketball World Cup set from 25 August to 10 September.

The 6-foot-10 AJ Edu said he wants to crack into the final roster to gain a chance to bounce back from a forgettable performance in the FIBA U19 World Championship in Greece in 2019.

Against the best young players in the world, Edu was a nonfactor as he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the opening minutes of their first match.

Now healthier and stronger, Edu had shown determination to come up with a strong performance in the World Cup after attending the Gilas training in Laguna, Estonia and Lithuania while submitting solid numbers when they faced Iran and Senegal in a friendly series in China recently.

“I think it’s always a dream, but doing it now, it’s pretty surreal,” Edu said. I have to pinch myself that I’m all part of the team (pool) preparing for the FIBA World Cup. It’s a blessing and, at the end of the day, I’m trying to enjoy every moment.”

Oftana is in the same boat.

The 6-foot-5 TNT Tropang Giga forward was reduced into a mere spectator after suffering a calf injury in their first game in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh.

Although he still emerged with a SEA Games gold medal, Oftana stressed that he is chasing a bigger dream in the World Cup that is set to unfold 12 days from now.

“I’ve never imagined myself to be in this position, for somebody who grew up in the province. We’re more used to playing ‘larong kalye’ and inter-barangay,” Oftana said.

“To be in this position now, I’m closer to that dream. It’s every player’s dream to be at this stage of their life playing in the FIBA World Cup. I’m fortunate to be a part of the pool. It’s even more exciting because there’s still no final lineup yet. All players that are in the pool are deserving. Whether I’ll be included in the final line up or not, I’ll still be able to help my teammates in terms of getting better ahead of the event.”

More than the excitement of whether he’ll make the final line up or not, Oftana is more excited to know whether Gilas Pilipinas can go the extra mile.

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