Photos by Jamie Velasco/Courtside Philippines

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Bulanadi excited to play with Aguilar in Gilas: ‘para siyang Giannis para sa akin’

by Niel Victor Masoy, January 12, 2020 6:19pm

Allyn Bulanadi suspects he’ll be starstruck once the 24-man Gilas PIlipinas pool - which he is a part of - start practicing for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers set to unfold in February.

And that is because the players he’ll be practicing with are those that he just used to watch on television.

“Syempre nung nilabas yung lineup namin kasi nung December nasa Davao ako palagi kong inaabangan yung lineup eh. Tas yung nilabas na parang nakaka starstruck siguro sa ensayo ‘to kasi nakikita ko sa TV yung mga yun eh,” said the former San Sebastian College Recoletos star.

“Bata pa ako sina [Marc] Pingris pinapanuod ko na sa TV lagi. Tapos sina Pringle pa ata andun eh. It’s an honor na makakampi ko sila if ever.”

Bulanadi’s fellow cadets in twin brothers Mike and Matt Nieto, Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Thirdy Ravena, and Jaydee Tungcab, together with University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) stars in brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, Dave Ildefonso, and Justin Baltazar make up the Gilas pool.

Also in the Philippine national basketball training pool are Ateneo de Manila University recruit Dwight Ramos and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) players Poy Erram, Roger Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, CJ Perez, Mac Belo, Matthew Wright, Troy Rosario, and Marc Pingris.

Among those names, Bulanadi said, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar is the one whom he really is excited to play with, likening the Barangay Ginebra forward to National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo because of his length and athleticism.

“Syempre si Japeth Aguilar (gusto ko makalaro). Kasi parang nakikita ko sa kanya ngayon, lalo na ngayon yung laro nila sa PBA, Finals nila (Governors Cup Finals against Meralco). Grabe siya napaka athletic, sobrang haba, kumpleto. Tapos para siyang Giannis para sa akin eh,” remarked the 6-foot-2 winger. 

As for his contributions to the team if ever selected to be part of the final lineup that will face Indonesia and Thailand, Bulanadi said he’ll just provide his scoring prowess just like what he used to do in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and now for the Basilan Steel in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

As a rookie, of course, Bulanadi is willing to take a back seat and let those experienced players take the spotlight. Regardless of what his role gonna be for Gilas Pilipinas, though, Bulanadi vows to go all out.

“I just do my thing lang, yun lang. Willing naman ako eh mag step down, pwede maging role player lang ako kasi nandun na yung mga mas nauna sakin eh. Yung mga eksperyensado na player,” said the 22-year-old.

“Alam ko naman na palagi silang mauuna eh. Yung sa’kin lang, support lang ako sa kanila. Andon lang naman ako eh, ‘di ako mawawala. Pag papasukin ako two minutes, ipupokpok ko yan 100 percent, maasahan ng Pilipinas, Gilas yan,” added the Alaska Aces Draftee.

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