HE may be on his way to the NBA, but Jalen Green never forgets his roots.
That's why when the opportunity to return to the Philippines came along for the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals, the 17-year-old Filipino-American didn't think twice and said yes.
"It’s great to always come out here in the Philippines and represent that Filipino side in me," said Green, who came back with FilAm Sports USA.
Green enjoyed his stay in the country so much last year that he wanted to be back. The fans didn't disappoint him, cheering him om. He repaid them with his dazzling athleticism and jaw-dropping dunks when he made his debut on Monday.
"I really miss the fans going crazy. And that helps me play hard and give my all. I want to play my best for the fans," he said.
But more than giving his Filipino audience a show, Green made it clear that he's back to take care of unfinished business as he looks to carry FilAm Sports USA deeper than their quarterfinal finish last year.
"I think we got like three players who know what we did last year and we lost, but carrying that loss, we just need more of a buildup for us to get it this year and take it further than last year," said Green, who set an NBTC record of 51 points in the losing effort to eventual champion NU Bullpups.
This early, he already has his sights set on a monumental clash against UAAP MVP Kai Sotto of Ateneo.
"Of course Kai," he said as Green's FilAm Sports USA and Sotto's Ateneo de Manila are projected meet in the quarterfinals, if they reach that deep in the tournament. "I can’t wait to see Kai. We text a lot."
This time, though, Green vowed to be a better version of himself as he aspires to help the Fil-Ams go all the way and become the first international team to win the NBTC Division 1 crown.
"I think I’ve improved my halfcourt game, my defense, and I'm trying to become more of a leader. Again, I can hope we can take it farther."