THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) bared that Ethan Kirkness could see action for Batang Gilas as early as next year’s Seaba Under-16 Championship.
Batang Gilas team manager Andrew Teh said the 6-foot-9 Fil-Aussie could suit up for the Philippine youth team in 2017 as he begins his intensive six-week training in Manila to build on his skills.
“That’s the plan, at least for the Seaba. We want him to be exposed in tournaments, while training him,” said Teh.
The 14-year-old Kirkness is being groomed to be part of the youth team, bringing in size that will enable Batang Gilas to challenge some of the Asia’s giants in China and Iran.
Kirkness, however, is in no hurry to join the national team especially if he is not yet ready.
“Things don’t often go as planned. We’ll see how things will pan out next year,” said Kirkness.
Kirkness was spotted in 2014 when he visited the country and has since become a Philippine passport holder, making him eligible to play for Batang Gilas in international competitions.
Nardy Madrasto, one of the persons instrumental in bringing Kirkness to the Batang Gilas program, said the Fil-Aussie has improved consistently since the first time they saw him play.
Madrasto said one aspect of his game that will definitely help the Batang Gilas team is his outside shooting and range.
“He has improved a lot from the first time he was here. As of now, he can already get a lot of rebounds and block shots. And he enjoys dunking the ball. What is surprising is that he has a soft touch from the outside as he could hit shots from beyond the three point arc,” said Madrasto.
“I truly feel if he plays more games in the next few years, he could be the anchor of our national team,” he added.