WHEN the Philippines defends the basketball gold medal in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, the nationals are bound to come across one familiar face in the Indonesian team.
Former De La Salle Green Archer Ferdinand will be making his debut for Indonesia's national team in the Myanmar showpiece later this year after playing his first season in the country's first professional league.
Ferdinand, a full-blooded Indonesian who studied in the Philippines for many years, played for Pelita Jaya Energi-MP in the just-concluded season of Indonesia's National Basketball League where his team lost to Aspac Jakarta in the championship game two weeks ago.
Ferdinand has played well enough in Indonesia's local league to earn a call-up to the national team.
“It’s pretty exciting but I still got room to improve,” said the 25-year-old Ferdinand when he was spotted by Spin.ph watching Game Two of the Asean Basketball League finals between the San Miguel Beermen and the Indonesia Warriors from ringside on Sunday.
“Right now I’m in the national team that will play in the SEA Games in Myanmar,” he added.
After playing high school ball at La Salle-Greenhills, Ferdinand spent four seasons with the Taft-based squad from 2007 to 2010 where he won a championship in his first year under Franz Pumaren.
Ferdinand, who speaks fluent Tagalog, said the experience he gained playing for so many years in the Philippines has helped him make a name for himself in Indonesian basketball.
“The mentality and the skills,” said Ferdinand when asked what he picked up from his years in the Philippines. “The mentality of the Filipino, laban lagi. Tsaka ‘yung skills.
"Indonesia basketball is just starting to go up eh. So I have an advantage.”
Ferdinand makes it a point to visit the Philippines at least thrice a year to meet with friends. His recent visit came at a time when his hometown Warriors were battling the Beermen for the ABL crown.
Incidentally, Ferdinand wore a San Miguel Beermen jersey of Asi Taulava when he watched Game One of the best-of-five series but clarified that he is not rooting for any team.
“I don’t really support any team. It’s hard. I have friends from both sides. I just watch for fun. I don’t even clap. Only for the showtime,” said Ferdinand.
He admitted, though, that he considers Taulava a big brother, the reason he wore his jersey in Game One.
“I asked for his jersey and I promised him that I will wear it during their games. Asi is my big brother. When they go to my country, I take him around,” said Ferdinand.