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Like idol Balti, Mike Phillips looks to play for Gilas one day

Indeed, one of the standout players of the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament is De La Salle University’s Michael Phillips.

Averaging 8.13 points, 12 rebounds, 1.31 blocks, 1.25 assists, and 1.06 steals in 16 matches this campaign, the 19-year-old big man had a stellar rookie campaign as a Green Archer so much so that he is the league’s first pure rookie to be inducted in the Mythical Five since La Salle legend Jeron Teng.UAAP-84-MBB-Awarding-Michael-Phillips-2422 Like idol Balti, Mike Phillips looks to play for Gilas one day Basketball DLSU Gilas Pilipinas News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“Marami akong natutunan sa season na to. Marami na bagay that I can carry with me sa next season,” said Phillips. “One of the things I learned, yung Lasallian community po, napakaganda ang support from our community.

“Every single game, kahit manalo o matalo, nandiyan sila. So going into the next season, I know that nandiyan sila. Binibigay nila ang passion and energy that I can really go out and fight for them each game.”

One player whom the Marketing Management student looked up to is his teammate Justine Baltazar. The outgoing Pampanga native was La Salle’s bedrock this season as it returned to the Final Four for the first time since Season 80.

With Baltazar exhausting his eligibility and looking forward to a professional career, the Creekside High School alumnus is looking to apply everything that he learned from the Gilas center to further his development.UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-UP-vs-DLSU-Justine-Baltazar-2 Like idol Balti, Mike Phillips looks to play for Gilas one day Basketball DLSU Gilas Pilipinas News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“Laging may tiwala sa sarili mo,” he answered on what the biggest lesson he learned from Baltazar. “Yun po yung palaging sinasabi ni Balts.

“Siya po talaga yung inspirasyon ko, yung idol ko talaga sa team at sa buong UAAP. Hindi pa ako sanay na I was able to play with him because I always looked up to him kahit nasa States ako, I really idolized him.

“Just really trust yourself, trust your teammates, and trust the system – yun po yung susubukan kong gawin my whole career,” he continued.

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Now that Baltazar is gone, expectations will be higher for Phillips when he represents La Salle come Season 85. He admitted that one of the things he’d like to improve on is his free throw shooting and he was also effusive about his admiration for Season 84 Rookie of the Year Carl Tamayo.

The tests for him will no doubt be tougher down the line but he is more than motivated to prove himself as a Green Archer.

“I was grateful. Marami ako natutunan from Balti: how to really lead a team, how to carry that shoulder of the team. I would really depend on our coach, coach Derrick Pumaren, one of the best, isa sa pinakamagaling na coach sa mundo,” said the Season 84 Mythical Five awardee.

Just taking it step by step, game by game this off-season, just really doing my best to help the team. Gusto ko lang matulungan ang team in any way I can so I’m really looking forward to next season.”

Just like Baltazar and Tamayo, Phillips has dreams of being chosen to play for Gilas Pilipinas. He shared that he has his Philippine passport ready and is itching to represent the nation in international matches and tourneys.

It will be a daunting task as only the best of the best Filipino cagers are selected but he is more than willing to fight for that dream.

2021-fiba-asia-cup-qualifiers-gilas-def-indonesia-justine-baltazar Like idol Balti, Mike Phillips looks to play for Gilas one day Basketball DLSU Gilas Pilipinas News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Photo from FIBA Asia Cup

“Siyempre pangarap ko yun nung bata pa ako, especially seeing Balti and Tamayo just do so well. Playing for your country, iba talaga ang nararamdaman pag Philippines is on the front,” said Phillips.

“You represent every single person in the country, every single person who has fought in this country so definitely pangarap ko po yun.”

All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.SMART-x-Yamaha Like idol Balti, Mike Phillips looks to play for Gilas one day Basketball DLSU Gilas Pilipinas News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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