IT may have been a long shot, but it still goes a long way.
Jerom Lastimosa cherished his time with the Gilas Pilipinas despite having a slim chance at making the final lineup in either of the two games in the last window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Jerom Lastimosa on Gilas experience
The abundance of playmakers on the national pool decreased the Adamson star’s shot at making the Final 12 for either the Lebanon or the Jordan game, leaving him and La Salle counterpart Schonny Winston as the only two pool members who were available, but missed action.
Still, Lastimosa soaked in everything he could learn from his elder facilitators in Scottie Thompson, Dwight Ramos, CJ Perez, and Kiefer Ravena, apart from the other Gilas veterans.
“Madaming guards, pero mas maganda yun kasi madami ako natutunan sa kanila,” the 24-year-old combo guard said.
After all, making the 24-man pool was an achievement in itself.
“I’m blessed kasi college pa lang ako, part na ako ng Gilas,” Lastimosa beamed. “And sobrang saya ko kasi isa din ‘to sa pangarap ko sa buhay ko na makapag-national team.”
“Nung lumabas na yung balita, dun na ako na-shock na nasali ako,” he added.
The knowledge and maturity he has gained will come in handy as the Dumaguete native tries to lead Adamson to greater heights after steering the Falcons to the Final Four despite nursing a dislocated right foot.
“Malaking bagay yun sa pagbalik ko sa UAAP. Nakaka-experience ako ng ganito, so maa-adapt ko siya pagdating sa UAAP soon,” added the soft-spoken guard who averaged 15 points, 4.1 boards, 3.6 assists, and one steal last season.
Ravena attested to what being around some of the best players in the country can do to growth.
“Everything na matututunan niya dito will just make him a better player and better person on and off the court,” the former Ateneo star said of Lastimosa. “He’s gonna be a force to reckon with pagdating ng UAAP.”
“Sabi ko lang sa kanya, wag ka mahihiya na…just indulge yourself with knowledge from coach Chot and coach Tim, and the rest of the guys, kasi talagang makakatulong sa career niya,” he added.
Especially with a pro career overseas in the horizon as Lastimosa bared as many as four teams from the Japan B.League and Korea Basketball League made offers that he declined for now to return to Adamson for his final year.
“Gusto ko pa talaga maglaro ng UAAP,” Lastimosa said. “Parang nag-eenjoy pa talaga ako. And sa tingin ko, yung mga nag-call up sa’kin sa overseas, nandyan lang naman yan.”
“Ngayon nga, palagi pa din nagtatanong kung ano na ba daw plano ko, pero parang aantayin lang ata nila ako na matapos sa UAAP,” he added.
“Happy problem siya kasi may next step ka na sa future mo,” Lastimosa continued with a smile. “Wala ka nang iisipin kung san ka pupunta after ng UAAP.”