KEVIN Ferrer admitted being thrilled joining Gilas Pilipinas in practice as it gave him the opportunity to play and learn directly from players he consider as his idols.
The University of Santo Tomas stalwart added warm bodies and fresh legs to the national team after showing up in its regular Monday night practice under coach Tab Baldwin at the Meralco gym.
“Bagong pakikisama ito sa mga idol ko. Dati pinapanood ko lang sila, ngayon nakakasama ko na,” said Ferrer at the end of the two-hour practice.
“Mababait sila, very supportive. Hindi ka nila pababayaan, tuturuan ka pa nila.”
The 6-foot-4 Ferrer became the second former Gilas cadet member to attend the Gilas practice after Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo jumped in the bandwagon two weeks ago.
He said deputy coach Josh Reyes was the one who texted him about the invitation, which he immediately accepted.
“Sabi niya every Monday mag-ensayo na raw ako at sumama sa Gilas,” said Ferrer, who steered the Tigers to a runner-up finish behind the FEU Tamaraws in the recent UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament.
The lanky forward said it’s always an honor to represent the country just like what he did in the last Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, where he was part of Baldwin’s Gilas cadets that won the basketball gold.
“Sobrang saya at napasama ako ulit sa Gilas. Siyempre, nangagarap ka na mapunta sa (final) lineup pero matagal pa (yun),” he said.
He was actually supposed to join Gilas as early as last week, but a school-related activity prevented him from doing so.
“May retreat. Nagpakabait muna ako at nag-reflect,” he said smiling.
Ferrer admitted he has learned to move on following the Tigers’ heartbreaking loss to the Tamaraws in the deciding game of the UAAP Finals.
“Siyempre past is past. Ayoko ng balikan yung nangyari. Natuto na ako run,” he said. “Move on na. Bagong journey na ito.”
And that new journey began with Gilas on this rainy Monday night.