ANTIPOLO — Jeremiah Gray achieved yet another major breakthrough in his young career but he couldn’t help but turn a tad sentimental.
A few months after winning his first PBA title, the Ginebra rookie would find his name in the 28-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, the first time that he’s been invited to the program.
The sweet-shooting 26-year-old said that he had always wanted to be part of the men’s team, and to be given that big of an opportunity over a year after suffering an ACL injury makes him all the more thankful.
It could be recalled that the Fil-Am guard got hurt back in 2021 during the PBA 3×3 inaugurals, causing him to miss months of games.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Gilas,” he said. “And the fact that I’m given the opportunity right now, you know, coming off my injury, just an amazing feeling, for sure.
“Just happy they trust me to even be a part of the pool.”
Gray is part of the pool considered to be the country’s own ‘Redeem Team’ as they are out to reclaim the gold medal Gilas lost to Indonesia in the previous edition of the regional tilt last year in Hanoi, Vietnam.
By being added into the mix, that makes him the seventh Ginebra player to be part of the talent roster, after Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, Jamie Malonzo, and Christian Strandhardinger.
Grey, though, admitted that none from the Barangay — even head coach and Gilas deputy Tim Cone — had actually told him about the Gilas news.
“Yeah. Nobody told me about it,” he said with a wide smile. “My uncle (Anton Brodett) just showed me a picture of the list and then said, ‘Congratulations.’ Still gotta make the team, though. Still gotta make it.”
In all seriousness, Gray said that it’s special for him to have his first national team rodeo surrounded by familiar faces in the Kings.
“Very special. It’s cool to have, what is it? Like seven of us there? And then especially Justin playing with us. It’s very special,” he said.
“I think we gotta try to bring that gold medal back from the SEA Games, too. It’s a good feeling, and very special, for sure.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.