Gilas Pilipinas big man Isaac Go is well aware of the fact that this iteration of the men’s national basketball team is chock full of young players who are lacking in international experience. However, he isn’t about to make that as an excuse not to play well in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain later this week.
Go is one of five special Gilas draftees who will spearhead the Gilas when they take on Thailand in a two-game slate on November 27 and 30. This includes former two-time Cesafi MVP Rey Anthony Suerte, brothers Mike and Matt Nieto and Allyn Bulanadi.
Inexperienced as they are, Go said they are all willing to learn how to be a leader in their own ways.
"I think what coach Jong (Uichico) and coach Tab (Baldwin) have preached is that anyone can be a leader. Every practice, someone else is stepping up and that's important now, growing a new generation of leaders and showing that leaders aren't born but made. You have to take responsibility,” Go said during an appearance on SportsPage on Monday night.
The former Ateneo standout added that it isn’t every day that they get to represent the country in an international competition so they have to cherish every moment.
"We're the lucky guys who got chosen to represent the country. We know that given the chance, anybody would want to take our slot," said the 6-foot-6 big man.
"So we have to give it respect by giving all that we have when we enter the floor. We aren't just going in as 12 players with the coaching staff, but we also have everybody back home, the millions of Filipinos with us in spirit, cheering us on, and we have to represent them the best way we can," he added.
Completing the 15-man pool is a cadre of talented collegiate aces such as Kobe Paras, siblings Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Dwight Ramos, Dave Ildefonso, Calvin Oftana, Kemark Cariño, Jaydee Tungcab and Will Navarro. (JNP)