Calvin Oftana proved that he belongs with Gilas Pilipinas, Monday evening during the Philippines’ game against Thailand in Manama, Bahrain.
Oftana’s number was called up to start the second stanza of the contest.
Having watched Gilas’ first game against Thailand last Friday, the 24-year-old utility forward knew how important second quarters are for the nationals.
“Hindi naman ako kinabahan,” Oftana shared to Tiebreaker Times.
“Sobrang ready na akong pumasok kung sakaling tatawagin ako ni coach [Jong Uichico]. Need to be ready every time, at siyempre excited sa unang laro ko para sa Gilas.”
The 6-foot-4 forward from Dumaguete showed why he is the reigning Most Valuable Player, providing everything Gilas needed to break away from the Thais.
During that 10-minute span, Oftana did it all. He fired three triples, dished out four assists, hauled three rebounds, and even had a steal to his name.
Though he impressed, Oftana said that he still felt rusty during the game.
“Mindset ko kanina is to be aggressive sa court.
“Pero medyo nangangapa pa ako kasi nga after how many months na walang laro,” Oftana said.
Gilas outscored Thailand during the second quarter that led to a 53-34 lead.
Oftana ended the contest with a line of nine points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block, while going a plus-15 on the floor in 15 minutes of game time. More importantly, Gilas swept the Manama bubble, taking a 93-69 win over Thailand, to go to 3-0 in Pool A of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
With his outing, Oftana hopes to have represented both San Beda and the NCAA well.
“I’m proud na kung saang league ako and sa school ako. I always do my best para ma-represent both in the best way,” said Oftana, hoping that there will be more talents from the NCAA joining the Cadets pool in the years to come.
As San Beda’s hymn goes:
“Bring out the challenges, we’ll win them all
And fear neither fire nor blood
Bedans will answer the clarions call
For San Beda, our country and God.”