GARY David considers being part of Gilas Pilipinas a big honor, more so playing in front of his basketball-loving countrymen during the qualifying tournament for the Fiba-World Basketball Championship.
“Pangarap ng lahat ng players yan, kaya honored ako na makasama sa national team,” said David, upon learning that he has been chosen by coach Chot Reyes to be part of his 17-man pool for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship the country is hosting for the very first time after 40 years.
“Basta I’m always willing to sacrifice para maglaro sa bayan. Tapos dito pa sa atin gagawin (ang tournament) so ibang klaseng experience talaga ito.”
David had been a shoo-in for the team since being chosen by Reyes as part of the Gilas side that won the championship of the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament last year.
But while he’s been constantly hearing about being a shoo-in for the national team lineup, the former Lyceum star said he remained anxious until the official roster was announced on Thursday.
“Mahirap kasing umasa,” he said.
David played for the national team once in 2003 when he helped the country win the basketball gold in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
That’s the reason why he’s very fulfilled that 10 years later, he’ll be part of a major Philippine cage team once again.
“I’m just lucky and thankful sa blessing na nangyayari sa akin,” said the 34-year-old shooting guard.
But he did admit there are always two sides to playing in front of Filipino basketball fans.
“Siyempre iba `yung maglalaro ka sa harap ng mga kababayan mo. Na-experience ko na maglaro sa ibang bansa kaya alam ko kung paano maglaro sa sariling bansa mo," he said.
“At the same time, may pressure din kasi siyempre it would be a letdown kung matatalo ka mismo dito sa Pilipinas.”