MIKE Tolomia cherishes his return to the national team after the former Far Eastern University star has been included in the Gilas Pilipinas cadet squad for the 2016 Seaba Cup.
It’s been six years since Tolomia last played for the flag after he saw action for the Philippines at the Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship in Yemen in 2010. Now, the 23-year-old guard is naturally excited to represent the country again as member of the Gilas cadets for the Seaba Cup that starts Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Excited ako kasi nung high school ako, ‘yun ang naging sukatan ko kung nasaan ‘yung galing ko. Ngayon, ganun din. After college, masusukat ko kung saang level na ako,” said Tolomia to SPIN.ph.
Tolomia gets reunited with his former Tamaraws teammates Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, Raymar Jose, and Ken Holmqvist, as well as fellow national youth team members in Troy Rosario, Kevin Ferrer, Russel Escoto, and Von Pessumal.
After just weeks in training and a few tune-up games with the cadet squad, Tolomia already sees the difference in playing for the seniors team compared to his experience in the youth squad.
“Unang-una, iba na rin talaga ‘yung physicality sa katawan. Nag-mature na ‘yung katawan tapos sa laro rin. Habang tumatanda, na-te-train mo rin ‘yung utak mo na maging beterano. Malaki talaga ‘yung pagkakaiba,” said Tolomia.
The former FEU guard said he doesn’t see major adjustments needed with this team as he's familiar with the many in the roster as well as the system of Gilas cadet coach Nash Racela.
“Normal lang kasi karamihan naman sa kanila, naging ka-team ko rin dati. Wala namang malaking adjustment kasi si coach Nash naman ang coach,” said Tolomia.
“Same lang halos kasi ‘yung position ko dito na point guard tapos core ng FEU nadala rin dito,” Tolomia said.
As he vies for the gold medal in the Seaba Cup, Tolomia offered no expectations in the tournament but vowed to play his best for the country once again.
“Hindi ko alam kung ano i-e-expect kasi first time ko maglalaro sa seniors. Ibibigay ko lang ‘yung best namin, ‘yung best effort namin sa game. Mahirap pa sabihin kung anong outcome pero ibibigay ko na lang ‘yung best ko,” said Tolomia.