TOUTED for the longest time as a future cornerstone of the Gilas Pilipinas program, AJ Edu finally gets his chance to represent the country in a five-on-five game with Batang Gilas in the 2018 Fiba Under-18 Asian Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
And his excitement couldn’t be any more contained.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. This is something I wanted for a while and I’m excited with the country as well,” he said.
Edu, 18, wore the national tri-colors in the past, albeit in the halfcourt game when he played in the 2017 Under-18 3x3 World Cup together with Juan Gomez de Liano, Rhayyan Amsali, and Encho Serrano in Chengdu, China.
But the Fil-Nigerian admits that this is a different animal to tackle, and with the Philippines parading possibly the tallest youth team it ever assembled with the 6-foot-10 Edu pairing up with 7-foot-1 Kai Sotto at the frontcourt, he knows better to temper everyone’s expectations.
“I like to take it one game at a time and that’s what I’m going to do. There is a little bit of pressure put on us, but I’m more excited and I’m looking forward to the competitions than feeling the pressure,” he said.
That’s good to hear from Edu knowing how hard the past two weeks has been for the Cyprus-born, Britain-based prospect to build chemistry with his new teammates.
“At first, it was really difficult, to be honest,” said the University of Toledo-commit cager as he initially struggled to adjust to his fellow Batang Gilas members who have played together before, most recently in the 2018 Fiba Under-17 World Cup in Argentina.
“In those first few days, I’m struggling a bit. But right now, I’m used to it. I’m getting adapted, getting used to the style of play. It’s just working hard in practice helps me get adjusted to the stuff like the time and getting used to my teammates, and I’m really enjoying it right now.”