Norbert Torres eager to prove his worth after surprise Gilas Pilipinas call-up
 “Just to be part of the pool is a privilege na eh. To be selected to represent your country is a big step na in anyone’s career, so for me to get it already into the PBA, I was really honored,” says Phoenix big man Norbert Torres. Jerome Ascano

NORBERT Torres is keen on silencing doubters over his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas pool.

The Phoenix big man was among the few surprise choices of national coach Chot Reyes to be part of the 12 players who joined the Gilas cadets.

Torres, himself, admitted he was surprised, but welcomed the rare opportunity.

“I’m a bit surprised,” said the Filipino-Canadian big man, who turned 27 last January 12. “Just to be part of the pool is a privilege na eh. To be selected to represent your country is a big step na in anyone’s career, so for me to get it already into the PBA, I was really honored.”

“I’m eager to prove my worth and to go up against sina June Mar (Fajardo) is really good,” the sophomore cager added.

[See Changing of the guard as Pingris, De Ocampo, Norwood pass Gilas torch to younger players]

The 6-foot-6 slotman now has a chance to represent the country again after doing so two years ago when he was part of national team for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championships (Seaba) and SEA Games under coach Tab Baldwin in 2015, and with the 18-under youth team under coach Franz Pumaren.

Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia listed his ward’s skills that made Reyes choose him.

“Honestly, I'm not surprised (by his inclusion),” Vanguardia said. “In the international game, you need Norbert's outside shooting, and he's been proving to me that he can also get those rebounds, so in the international game, he can space out the floor, and he can give that extra advantage.”

“He's young, He's the future of this club, we're investing in him and good thing that coach Chot sees that progress,” he added of Torres, who registered five points, missed his only three-point shot, grabbed three boards, and dished out one assist in 16 minutes off the bench in their win over Ginebra.

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Fellow Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright couldn’t be prouder of his childhood buddy as they have a chance to be national teammates again after teaming up with the youth team.

“It gets me a little more motivation to have Norbert and I,” Wright said. “We grew up together since 10 years old. Having a chance to play in 2008 in this building for RP Youth when I was 17. Then fast forward nine years later, we have a chance to play in Gilas together, it's unbelievable.” 

[See Reyes explains why he picked Revilla over Mallari, Torres over Intal]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos