There’s no denying Roger Pogoy’s development with Gilas Pilipinas, and even FIBA.com took notice by including him in its list of most improved players in Asia last month.
FIBA.com did a comparative analysis of his numbers from the 2017 Asia Cup to the Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers’ first window just last February, and there was indeed a glaring improvement.
From averaging 7.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 16.7 minutes in the Asia Cup, Pogoy made 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, along with six rebounds in nearly 23 minutes as Gilas blew past Indonesia, 100-70, in the ACQ.
The 6-foot-2 guard is now seen as one of the veterans in the national team, as he has been a key part of the program for some time. And it looks like he’s embracing that role not just on the court, but beyond that as well.
“Master namin ‘yan. ‘Di pwedeng ‘di pakinggan ‘yan,” a chuckling Rey Suerte told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Prospects Pod, presented by SMART and supported by Chris Sports, referring to Pogoy.
“Nakikinig naman kami sa kanya lagi. Siyempre master namin ‘yan. Matic ‘yan,” seconded Allyn Bulanadi jokingly as he, Suerte, and Isaac Go served as guests in the podcast hosted by Gilas captain and NLEX star Kiefer Ravena.
All jokes aside, it looks like the two have found a “kuya” in the 28-year-old Pogoy — a “kuya” who can guide them as the newcomers to the national team program.
Suerte and Bulanadi were among the first names in the pool that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas formed, which consists of the best young stars of today who will be groomed for the FIBA Asia Cup 2023.
They were also part of the roster that prepared for last February’s ACQ, but were among the tough cuts interim head coach Mark Dickel had to make when the team assembled its 12-man crew versus the Indonesians.
“Nung nagpa-practice nga kami sa Gilas, ‘yung dalawang ‘yan natutulog sa bahay ni Pogoy. ‘Yun ang adventures nung dalawa,” shared Ravena, who’s among the pros in the program expected to provide experience.
And with the time they have shared so far with one of the best young two-way players of today, Suerte and Bulanadi have heard a few lessons, which they have been carrying with them since.
“‘Yun lang, magpakita lang naman daw sa practice, all-out lang naman. ‘Yun lang. Para wala raw pagsisihan,” said Bulanadi.
“Lagi kami sinasabihan na kumbati. Kumbati raw. In Tagalog, laban lang,” Suerte said.
“Kasi ‘yun naman talaga e, ‘di ba? Dami kami noon eh, so kailangan namin makipag-kumbati. Sa Bisaya, laban.”