Batang Pier’s Jamie Malonzo is savoring every moment of his first stint with the national team as he was named to the 24-man pool for the upcoming fourth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Among 14 PBA players tapped for the games against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia on August 25 and 29, respectively, the former La Salle standout relished getting the chance to represent the flag.
Clarkson, Sotto banner 24-man Gilas pool
“It feels good, man. Honestly, I say this all the time it’s really like a dream come true,” Malonzo said on One Sports’ The Game.
“So far, practice has been great, we’ve been grinding and learning together as a team. So hopefully we can make something shake soon,” he added.
Malonzo will join the likes of Kai Sotto, Jordan Clarkson, Bobby Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, Carl Tamayo and Robert Bolick, among others.
The high-flying 26-year-old received the green light from FIBA to play as a local for Gilas Pilipinas despite his roots in the US.
Malonzo credited the help of Gilas head coach Chot Reyes in making it possible.
“It’s been in the works for a while now,” he said.
“Luckily enough we were able to get it all done so quickly and got it FIBA cleared and now we’re at this point today,” he continued.
Malonzo hopes to make a good impression as Gilas’ training goes into full swing, looking to make it to the final roster.
Gilas aims to bounce back from a sub-par showing in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia last month.