JAY Washington found himself in a tough spot the moment he was drafted into the Gilas Pilipinas pool by national coach Chot Reyes.
But the Globalport Fil-Am forward said he intends to learn Reyes’ system as much as possible and try to fit in, hoping to contribute to Gilas’ goal of a respectable performance in this year’s Fiba World Cup in Spain and a gold medal finish in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“I understand what I got myself into. It’s a tough spot,” the 6-foot-7 Washington told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
“But if they (coaching staff) think I can contribute to the team, well, I’ll just try to fit in and be able to contribute to the team,” he added.
On Monday night, Reyes welcomed Washington into the Gilas pool after its initial walk-through of the team’s plays on Monday’s initial meet-up at the Meraclo gym in Ortigas.
Washington is coming off a tough season with the Batang Pier, a team that could only finish a grand total of seven victories in three conferences.
The Batang Pier, then under interim coach Ritchie Ticzon during the Philippine Cup, placed seventh, but after being replaced by Pido Jarencio, Globalport stumbled to a pathetic two-win total in the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors Cup as the two-year-old franchise ended dead last.
The 32-year-old Washington averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.2 minutes this season. He also made 32.5 percent of his three-point shots.
Washington explained that Reyes wants him to play as a stretch-four, the role Ranidel de Ocampo plays at Gilas during the national squad’s surprised runner-up finish in last year’s Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila.
“I’m really excited for coach Chot to extend his hand and inviting me to the pool,” he said.
“I”m grateful for the opportunity I have where coach wanted me to play the stretch four, just like Ranidel de Ocampo, who’s the only stretch four Gilas has,” added the two-time Best Player of the Conference.
Gilas resumes practice on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena.
The national squad leaves early next week to compete in the Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, where the Filipinos will use the tournament as an opportunity to get reacquainted with the international rules while preparing for the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games.