ABU Tratter admitted finding himself wide-eyed after finally showing up on his first ever Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday night.
The big man from La Salle couldn’t believe he was sharing the court with some of the biggest names in Philippine basketball, particularly four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and his idol Gabe Norwood.
“Just seeing Gabe, just seeing how really tall June Mar is, is really a humbling experience,” he said afterwards. “Just being able to see great talent on the floor, I think that’s the first thing that I came in to. Seeing June Mar and Gabe automatically I knew it was a different atmosphere.”
Tratter, who just turned 25 last week, was one of the college players named by Gilas coach Chot Reyes to be part of the 23-man pool from which the national team roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup could likely be culled.
Unfortunately, he failed to attend the first Monday-only practice of the team last week.
This time, he made sure he wouldn’t miss the experience.
“I think that is a dream definitely. They say everything special is a dream. So I’m just humbled to be here,” said Tratter, who was one of only two players from the 23-man pool to join the team’s second week of practice along with Lyceum’s CJ Perez.
“I feel humbled being in the midst of such great talent. I will try to absorb everything I can.”
While nothing is certain yet on the 2023 World Cup which the Philippines will co-host, the Fil-Am big man said it would definitely be an honor to play in front of basketball-loving Filipinos while wearing the Gilas jersey.
“I think just being a privilege of being born here in the country, and the possibility of representing the country is really great,” said Tratter, who practiced with the Gilas team minus Reyes, currently on a short family vacation in Japan.
Tratter didn’t mince that he’s a big Norwood fan, with whom he had his picture taken shortly after training.
He added he’s also trying to imitate the ‘Fido-Dido’ hairstyle of the Rain or Shine big guard.
“I’m trying to grow it. His is about three times longer than mine. So I got a couple of years to catch up,” Tratter said smiling.
So is he the future Gabe Norwood of Gilas?
His reply: “I’ll be the next Boo (his nickname). That’s what I will try to do.”