RICHARD Smith made news in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last season when he figured in a confrontation with Asi Taulava that led to a fine and one-game suspension.
Now he wants to be in the news for the right reasons.
The Subic-born Fil-American is currently practicing with the Philippine team, with the hope of catching the last bus to the Southeast Asian Games scheduled in Myanmar next month.
While he understands he isn’t a shoo-in for the team’s final roster, the 6-foot-7 Smith is confident he can add ceiling and strength to the wingmen-loaded PH lineup made up mostly of Gilas cadets and college players plus naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
They Said It!
“I think I can bring a lot of size inside. I’m used to guarding an American so strength isn’t an issue, defensively just getting the rebounds, boxing out, and shooting threes." - Richard Smith
“I think I can bring a lot of size inside. I’m used to guarding an American so strength isn’t an issue, defensively just getting the rebounds, boxing out, and shooting threes,” said Smith.
Smith also believes his experience playing in the ABL with the Indonesia Warriors will be a big plus in the SEA Games since he is familiar with most of the players Gilas will be facing.
“I played most of the guys on the other teams in the ABL. It’s going to be a big help just playing internationally," he said.
Smith grew up in Washington but is looking forward to the experience of playing for the country.
“It’s going to be different compared to playing in the Philippines. But overall, this is an amazing team. I’m excited to play with them,” Smith told Spin.ph.
“I’m really honored right now. This is very big for me and my family right now. I have a lot of family in Subic, they are trying to get them acclimated to me being here. They are really happy for me, too.”
Asked about the incident with former San Miguel star Taulava eleven months after, Smith said he has nothing but respect for the 2013 ABL Season Most Valuable Player.
“We haven’t really talked but he is a very, very good player, and very strong,” said Smith of Taulava. “I understand it’s the beginning of that, like the whole season, just miscommunication and emotions as well. But I have the utmost respect for him.”
He hopes to have a chance to play with the 40-year-old former PBA MVP.
“I wish I can be doing what he does at his age. He is still going very strong. He has brought a lot of experience to the table and also the way he controls himself is amazing. That’s everything a Filipino player should be. Strength and determination,” said Smith.
Just like other Fil-Ams, Smith is also looking to play in the PBA someday.
“That’s actually my main goal (playing in the PBA). I can get stronger in the ABL. By the time I’m ready to play in the PBA, I can just apply what I’ve learned from my previous teammates and coaches,” said Smith.