Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin firmly believes that high school standout LeBron Lopez has a bright future ahead of him, and his inclusion to the youth-laden seniors’ team pool will only serve him well.
The 17-year-old winger is just one of the two Ateneo Blue Eaglets named part of the Gilas Men roster. They are currently all training together at the Inspire Sports Academy bubble in Calamba, Laguna.
A total of 12 new faces are part of the youngest Gilas crew ever assembled, which is gearing up for the tough June competitions — particularly the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“He has a very bright future, and I think he has a great situation here in the Gilas bubble. He gets along really well with the other players,” said the American-Kiwi mentor in The Game on One PH, Tuesday evening.
Lopez, who stands at 6-foot-5, has been seen as one of the country’s brightest prospects due to his athletic prowess.
He has actually become a social media sensation in some way, with his highlight-worthy dunks going viral online. And Baldwin himself has witnessed why many have been in awe with the Fil-Nigerian hooper.
“I think people are pretty accurate in their assessment that he is an outstanding athlete,” he said about Lopez, who was actually headed to the US last year to train until he decided to stay put to finish his studies.
“He certainly fits the criteria of length, a really active guy and a lot of energy,” the former Olympian bench tactician furthered.
Still, Baldwin said that Lopez still has so much to learn about the game. But he knows, too, that there won’t be an issue with that due to the young gun’s willingness, and most importantly, his humility.
“LeBron has a lot to learn about the concepts of the game, understanding the nuances of execution. Great kid, really willing to learn, always attentive, and always competitive when it’s time to play,” he said
“There’s humility in the kid as well, understanding that he is the youngest. He doesn’t try to big-shot anybody because he has a big name and a big following. He doesn’t act like that at all.”