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Quiambao follows Aguilar footsteps


‘We were given advice by the veterans not to pass up on the opportunities of representing the country.’

KEVIN Quiambao is following the trail taken by Japeth Aguilar in the men’s national team. | photograph by Joey Sanchez Mendoza for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_joey

Kevin Quiambao — arguably the best player in the collegiate ranks — is following the path taken by Japeth Aguilar when he joined Gilas Pilipinas that will see action in major international competitions.

Quiambao said he is taking the advice of Aguilar and other veterans not to let the opportunity of representing the country easily slip away.

Quiambao’s mindset is similar to Aguilar when he was still starting with the national team.

Standing at 6-foot-9 with lightning-quick feet, feathery shooting touch and high basketball IQ, Aguilar was a project player when he got drafted to be part of the Gilas squad under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman and Powerade Pilipinas squad under Yeng Guiao in 2009.

Since then, he never relinquished his spot in the national tean as he was part of the squads that played in the 2014, 2019 and 2023 editions of the FIBA Basketball World Cup as well as Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games tournaments.

Quiambao can also do the same as head coach Tim Cone picked him to be part of the Gilas squad that will compete in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this year despite being a mere college sophomore at De La Salle University.

Quiambao’s services will be greatly needed as AJ Edu will be out with a meniscus injury while June Mar Fajardo is still nursing an injured calf that he sustained during his championship run with San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup last week.

Without the two big men, other remaining frontcourt players like Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo, Aguilar and Quiambao will have to step up.

“We were given advice by the veterans not to pass up on the opportunities of representing the country,” Quiambao said.

“Not everybody is being given this opportunity. Whatever role it is, whether scoring, rebounding, assisting and playing defense, just do it to help your team.”

Justin Brownlee, the returning Gilas naturalized player, who will be eligible to play after his voluntary non-activity the past three months, sees a bright future ahead for Philippine basketball.

“I think Philippine basketball is headed in the right direction,” Brownlee said.

“Seeing these guys play and showing their skill-set during practices, I think we’ll have a bright future.”

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