AJ Edu has suffered so many knee injuries that a men’s national team debut has been a long time coming.
Now back to the pink of health, the 6ft 10in tall man is looking to make up for lost time with a place on Gilas Pilipinas final roster for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup seemingly within reach. .
“I’m just really excited,” Edu said. “It will (will) be my first time, so there’s really nothing for me to lose. I’m going to go out there and enjoy it.
“It’s my dream to play at the highest level, against NBA players, so it’s going to be a really exciting experience for me. I’m just going to learn as much as I can,” he continued.
Edu has become a piece of cake for the final roster of a Gilas crew that kicks off its campaign on August 25. It will be a triumph in itself, given the multiple ligament tears that have robbed him of his minutes and his confidence in the past. .
He played an important role in Gilas’ tune-up matches here in Manila and in a pocket tournament in Guangdong, China for a brief while while making Kai Sotto’s absence negligible.
“Injuries have definitely been a tough time for me. But you know, if not for the support system around me, my family, my friends, the (National Federation), the coaches, they’ve all been really supportive during this time.
“Also my faith – most importantly – I’m grateful to the Lord and I’m faithful in these situations and let everything work together for good,” Edu said of his resurgence.
“And yes, just to be able to play in China, to represent again after so long, and then to do it while having an impact is just a testimony to the people and a testimony of my faith in the Lord. “
First rank enemies
If Edu makes the final roster, he will face Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic, a formidable NBA big man.
The 23-year-old had a rather candid response when asked about facing an opponent of such caliber.
“I would say I’ll do my best if I can keep him. So yeah, I can’t wait,” he said with a chuckle.
Edu will have a chance to prepare more in the tune-up matches against Ivory Coast, Mexico and Montenegro. Gilas Pilipinas was due to face the Elephants on Friday night behind closed doors at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
If he clears those games with flying colors, Edu should finally achieve a senior team debut that has been delayed for years.
And that’s really his target. After all, a Gilas Pilipinas appearance in this World Cup would also mean his first-ever game outside his mother’s birthplace.
“I’m just super excited. I don’t want it any other way,” he said with a smile. “It’s probably the best home game I could play for a first home game. I’m excited to play in front of the fans to feel that love, that support, that puso. I’m just excited.
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