UNIVERSITY of the East star Roi Sumang played down protests over his non-inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas cadet pool, saying he may not have been able to show his best during the tryouts due to fatigue.
Although his coach in the PBA developmental league believes there were other factors aside from performance that led to him being left out of the 16-man pool, Sumang saw it differently. He said he feels he was never in top form during the national pool training sessions because he also practices with UE and Tanduay Light.
When Spin.ph visited the Gilas cadet pool tryouts conducted by Tab Baldwin at the Philsports Arena, Sumang was not around.
“Hindi ko siguro kinaya. Pagod talaga ako lagi. Practice ako sa Tanduay tapos pumupunta ako sa tryouts. Pagod talaga,” Sumang said.
[See Ravena, Teng, Parks lead 16-man pool picked by Tab Baldwin for Seaba, SEA Games mission]
Sumang said being invited to participate in the tryouts conducted by national coach Baldwin was already an honor, and vowed getting the ax won’t bring him down.
“Okay lang. Masaya naman ako. Nandoon naman kami lahat. Siguro desisyon talaga ni coach Tab ’yun,” Sumang said when Spin.ph caught up with him after his first game with Tanduay Light in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
“Darating talaga sa point mo rin ’yun na hindi ka mapipili. Pero dapat hindi ka ma-down,” Sumang added. “Nung hindi ako nakuha, sobrang focus na ako sa ginagawa ko. Nandoon na ’yung pride mo eh. Hindi ko lang siguro kinaya.”
Sumang was part of the gold medal-winning Philippine team to the Southeast Asian Games in 2013 in Myanmar, and was expected to shine in this year’s batch of Gilas cadet members also known as Sinag Pilipinas.
But he didn’t make 16-man roster that features younger untested players. From the pool will come the final squad that will see action in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) championship in Singapore from April 27 to May 1, and the SEA Games in July, also in the Lion City.
Tanduay Light coach Lawrence Chongson believes Sumang was hurt by his non-inclusion more than he cares to admit, saying the UE star could be using the ‘snub’ as motivation for the current D-League conference.
“Kutob ko, it’s a motivating factor for him,” Chongson said. “Nasaktan ’yung bata.”
Chongson admitted he already had a hunch Sumang won’t be included in the national pool.
“Kutob ko na talaga na hindi siya makakasama. Siyempre, may sponsor ’yan (Gilas), siyempre may mga shoo-in na. Si Sumang, nasa kalaban na team. Saka na siguro 'yun kapag kami na ang nag-manage ng team,” the outspoken coach added.