TORONTO rising star DeMar DeRozan knows a thing or two about being an underdog, having hleped turn the unheralded Raptors into playoff contenders in the NBA.
That same mentality should be Gilas Pilipinas' biggest asset in the Fiba World Cup, he said.
The NBA rising star, in Manila for a brief visit for a promotional event, said it will be interesting to see the smaller Philippine national team go up against the "big boys" in the Spain showpiece.
"It's the biggest thing, the smaller lineup against some NBA players and that's an exciting thing to watch," said DeRozan on Friday during the KFC Fully Loaded Shootout at the SM Mall of Asia.
Made aware that the Philippines will be making its return to the world championships for the first time after almost four decades, DeRozan said it will be the hunger factor - and the drive to prove that you belong - that will help Gilas overachieve against the world's best teams.
"That's for sure, having a long down time from the World Cup will make them (Filipinos) work harder," said the top gunner, most likely talking from experience after leading a small-market team with a few stars all the way to a Game Seven against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
"I'm pretty sure their hunger for the world stage will keep their energy up," he added.
On Friday, the Raptors forward game gamely took part in an arcade shootout where he led a team against a side bannered by San Miguel Beer center Doug Kramer.
DeRozan, 24, said he had so much fun he didn't mind losing.
"At least dito sa shootout natalo ko siya (DeRozan)," kidded Kramer.