Roger Pogoy regrets not having chance to play with idols Hontiveros, Reyes in Gilas practice
FEU star Roger Pogoy joined Gilas in practice for the first time. Jerome Ascano

WHILE he regrets not being able the share the court with his biggest PBA idols, Roger Pogoy still relishes the chance to play with the rest of the pro stars in the Gilas Pilipinas pool from where the squad for Olympic Qualifying Tournament will come from.

The Far Eastern University standout finally practiced with the national team for the first time on Monday night after being reduced into a spectator the past few weeks owing to a hamstring injury.

And he had hoped to play alongside idols in fellow Cebuano Dondon Hontivoers  and Tropang TNT guard Ryan Reyes, but the former isn’t part of the pool anymore, while the latter was resting an injury.

“Si Kuya Ryan Reyes sana (ang gusto ko makalaro), kaso hindi siya naka-ensayo,” Pogoy said after practice. “Pero marami naman, sila lahat (ang idol ko).”

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While he gave and received passes from them, banged bodies a bit, and simply rubbed elbows with the PBA stars on the court, Pogoy was shy to even make small talk with them off the court during lulls.

“Nakakahiya kasi sumama sa mga PBA stars,” said Pogoy, who flocked with fellow amateur standouts Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, and Russel Escoto during breaks. “May parang grupo kami. Tawag  nga ni Ferrer: ‘pugad ng mga cadet’ daw.”

On the court, Pogoy seemed to fit seamlessly with his elders.

“Nakakasabay naman ako kasi 'yung play na ginagawa ni coach Tab (Baldwin) parehas pa rin sa cadets dati,” he said, well aware they were brought in merely as additional warm bodies.

“Sa tingin ko lang, wala naman (chance makuha), kasi maraming PBA player,” Pogoy admitted. “Sa amin, pumunta kami dito para makatulong lang sa kanila.”

“Pero sobrang blessed pa rin na nakasali dito,” he added.

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos