ED Daquioag welcomed the opportunity to be part of the Gilas national training pool, not only for the chance to play for flag and country, but also to know his basketball idol Jayson Castro better.
Initially, the Meralco rookie felt awkward mingling and being with Castro on the same floor at the start of the three-day training camp conducted by Gilas coach Chot Reyes in Tagaytay.
The two-time best point guard of Asia, however, made him feel right at home, Daquioag said.
“Noong una nga nahihiya nga akong i-approach siya,” shared the guard out of University of Santo Tomas shortly after Meralco’s 94-86 win over Mahindra in the opener of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Pero sobrang bait niya. Masayang kasama, and pinaramdam niya agad na teammate ko na siya ngayon.”
He looked forward to learning a lot under the guidance of the TnT Katropa veteran, who unretired from international play to be with Gilas Pilipinas 5.0.
“Hopefully marami akong matutunan at maituro sa akin na mai-aaply ko sa laro ko.”
“May mga tips na rin siyang sinabi sa amin (rookie cadets). Yung mga hirap nila and sacrifices na ginagawa nila,” added Daquioag. “Mahirap daw pero sobrang maraming matutunan.”
Other than Castro, Daquioag also had the chance to bond with Gilas pool members such as Calvin Abueva, Raymond (Almazan), and Troy Rosario.
All 21 members of the national pool underwent drills during the camp to learn the intricacies of the dribble-drive offense. They also played five-on-five games during the latter part of the camp.
He had fellow cadet Russel Escoto for roommate. The Mahindra big man postponed surgery on his ACL injury just to be able to attend the Gilas camp.
“Yun sacrifice din sa part niya kasi hindi niya muna pina-operahan yung tuhod niya dahil sa Gilas,” said Daquioag.