Kevin Quiambao and Raven Cortez will not be able to meet their senior Justine Baltazar for the time being.
The two La Salle commits have begged off from joining Gilas Pilipinas in its month-long training camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna starting Monday.
And it’s because the two are in the midst of fulfilling their requirements as Grade 12 students.
“Hindi ako makakasali sa Gilas ngayon dahil may tinatapos pa akong subjects,” lamented the 19-year-old Quiambao, who is currently finishing his secondary education in St. Mary of the Woods School in Makati.
“Very crucial kasi ito para maka-enroll ako sa La Salle.”
“I’ve decided po muna to focus on my studies sa La Salle [Zobel] since graduating po ako ngayon. ‘Yun po ‘yung priority ko po kasi ngayon, ‘yung makatapos ng high school,” added the 18-year-old Cortez.
Quiambao, who stands at 6-foot-8, and Cortez, who is 6-foot-7, have been part of the Gilas Youth program before.
Quiambao was part of Gilas Youth 3×3 that competed in the 2019 FIBA 3X3 Under-18 Asia Cup.
On the other hand, Cortez was part of the Gilas Youth team that competed in the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship.
The duo feel saddened that they won’t be able to don the country’s colors in the meantime.
“Sobrang lungkot, pride and pangalan ng bansa ang irerepresenta eh.
“Lahat naman siguro ng tao if ma-invite ng Gilas gagawan ng paraan, pero this time mas nag-commit ako tapusin ‘yung subjects ko and very sad sa part ko na hindi ako makakasama,” expressed Quiambao.
“It has always been my honor po to represent our country but right now po, priority ko po ang DLSZ,” said Cortez.
Gilas is holding month-long camp not just get the next generation ready for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. It will also look out for potential players who can join the national team come the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup and 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Speaking on behalf of Cortez, Quiambao shared that they hope to receive call-ups once more from the national team once they clear this hurdle.
“It’s really our pleasure na ma-call up sa Gilas. But for now, talagang need namin mag-focus sa school.”