GREG Smith played his final game with Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night.
He hopes to be back here soon - hopefully, to put on a Gilas uniform.
Talks between the camp of Smith and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the naturalization of the former NBA player are still ongoing, although the 6-foot-11 Smith has long been vocal about his desire to don the national colors in overseas tournaments.
“I told them I’m all in. Once my agent gets things going, I’m here. I just can’t wait,” said Smith, who had another 20-20 performance (21 points and 22 rebounds) marred by 11 turnovers as he capped his Blackwater stint with a 124-113 loss to San Miguel Beer at the Astrodome.
Although the process of naturalization would take quite some time to complete, Smith is keeping his fingers crossed he’ll already be eligible to play for Gilas come the Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon this August.
He said a stint in the biennial meet will be a dream come true.
“I can’t describe how I will feel. This is Fiba. This is another league,” said the Vallejo, California native. “So me, if I get that chance, I will be super-excited.”
Smith is also looking forward to playing again for Blackwater in the future despite the struggle the team had undergone in the mid-season conference that saw the franchise lose top players Art dela Cruz and rookie Mac Belo.
The Elite finished with a 2-9 record.
“It was great. One of the best phases of my life playing with these guys,” he said of his stint with Blackwater. “They helped me learn about the league. I had a blast. I wouldn't mind coming back and playing here.”
He believes the Elite would have fared better had they not lost Belo and Dela Cruz to injury.
“It hurts a lot because those guys are experienced players and they are good,” he said.
But he also praised the rest of the team for stepping up.
“My teammates stepped up in big ways. They didn’t give us the wins, but you should see they progressed the rest of the season,” said the NBA veteran, who had stints with Houston, Dallas, and Minnesota.
Smith is set to go home to the US to see his kids as he waits what the future holds for him at Gilas.
“That would be a blessing Hopefully I could play for them (Gilas),” were his parting words.