FIL-NIGERIAN prospect AJ Edu quietly slipped into town on Tuesday night after expressing interest to play for the Philippine team beginning with the Batang Gilas youth side.
Just 16 but already 6-foot-9, Edu arrived with his mom Josie to meet with Samahang Basketbol ng Plipinas (SBP) officials and hopefully come into an agreement to play for the national team in the future.
Batang Gilas team manager Andrew Teh told SPIN.ph the United Kingdom-based, Cyprus-born prospect is very much eligible to play for Gilas Pilipinas since he only owns a Philippine passport.
"He doesn't have any other passport," said Teh, unable to hide his excitement over the arrival of a player who could potentially give the youth program - and possibly Gilas - a major boost.
"He's very promising. May alam, bata pa at higit sa lahat, mabait," he added.
At posting time, Edu was at the Moro Lorenzo Gym inside the Ateneo campus where he was made to go through his paces by Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin.
Teh said Edu, through his mom who hails from Surigao, has signified his interest to play for Batang Gilas, prompting SBP officials to bring them over for talks.
The Batang Gilas team manager is hopeful of striking an arrangement with Edu and his family, saying they plan to draft a program for the teenager that will be integrated into the youth program.
"The kid really wants to play for the Philippines," said Teh. "So hopefully, we can come to an agreement, then gagawan namin ng programa para sa Batang Gilas."
But since Edu already turned 16 last January 1, Teh said the earliest he can suit up for Batang Gilas will be in the 2018 Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship.
But with a prospect like Edu, there's no doubt the national team is willing to wait.
"Mukhang malakas, ganoon s'ya kalaki pero three, four ang laro n'ya," said the Batang Gilas manager.