PAUL Harris will forever be associated with Philippine basketball following his appearance in a television documentary about the passion of Filipinos for the sport.
So it came as no surprise that the longtime Talk ‘N Text import has pledged his full support to the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team in the coming Fiba World Cup.
“Oh, without a doubt,” said Harris when asked by Spin.ph if he will be rooting for Gilas Pilipinas in Spain.
Harris’ support for the Philippine team is unwavering that he even plans to go to Miami to visit the team during its training camp in early August.
“Actually, I’m meeting up the guys in Miami. I might go down there,” said Harris.
Harris’ first tour of duty with Talk 'N Text in the 2011 PBA Commissioner's Cup was the take-off point of the ‘Pinoy Hoops’ documentary of renowned writer Rafe Bartholomew.
Harris, incidentally, was coached that year by now Gilas Pilipinas mentor Chot Reyes who led the Tropang Texters past Barangay Ginebra in six games in the championship series.
With Reyes calling the shots for the national team, Harris believes that Gilas Pilipinas will fare well in the Fiba World Cup while playing against the world’s best basketball players.
“They have a brilliant coach in Chot Reyes. I think they’ll be fine,” said Harris.
Unlike in 2011, the Tropang Texters fell short in their title aspirations in the Governors Cup as they lost to grand slam-seeking San Mig in Game Five.
“It hurts, man,” said Harris. “Game Five, to go to the championship, whether you lose by one point or 20 points, it hurts.”
In Game Five, Harris kept Talk ‘N Text’s chances alive, scoring a game-high 40 points. Still, the Tropang Texters fell short, losing an 87-93 decision to the Mixers.
“I’m an ultimate competitor so I didn’t give up, and try to keep going, but in the end, we came a little bit short,” Harris added.
Following the loss, Harris is heading to Turkey but said he would still want to return to the Philippines for another tour of duty with Talk ‘N Text.
“I’m actually heading to Turkey in August. But you know, there is no place like playing in the Philippines. This is my third year. My wife loves it. I love it. Who knows, I might be back,” Harris said.
“If I’m coming back, I want to be on this team,” Harris added, referring to Talk ‘N Text.