In 2011, Dondon Hontiveros was one of the deadliest shooters in a Gilas Pilipinas uniform, although injuries got in the way of his journey to represent the country in the FIBA Asia Championship that year for Rajko Toroman’s group.
But the Cebuano sniper kept on pushing himself to play at a high level even if he is no longer getting any younger, and is rewarded with another chance to play for the country again.
Hontiveros made the Gilas 3.0 pool which is preparing for the FIBA Asia Championship in September. “Honored and humbled. In a way, excited because magandang opportunity ito para sa akin na mabigyan ng ganitong chance. Ibibigay ko kung ano ang kaya kong mabigay,” Hontiveros said on his return to the national team after missing four years.
While time is not on their side, Hontiveros says the team should make the most out of what they have, and must keep their focus on the ultimate goal which is returning to the Olympics.
“Kahit 6 or 7 weeks na lang, yung pinagtrabahuhan namin sana maganda result. You just keep your eyes on the prize e. Kahit anong hirap sa practice or little amount of time para mag-blend ang team, we have to do as much dahil ang goal namin is to make it sa Olympics,” he said. “We are hoping may makasama pa sa pool pero for the meantime, we just keep on working sa mga anong dapat gawin.”
Wearing national team colors is nothing new for the Alaska wing man, who has been representing the team since 2002 during the Busan Asian Games.
He was also part of the 2005-2007 team handled by coach Chot Reyes along with Asi Taulava, Gabe Norwood, and Jimmy Alapag, who have all made it to the list of Gilas 3 players now.
Hontiveros says he is passionate about playing for the country through the years, and takes advantage of another opportunity to learn.
There may be some unfinished business but at this point, he is just grateful to be doing something for the country again.
“Andoon talaga ang desire ko maglaro. Magandang opportunity rin to na matuto from the coaches. ‘Yung experience na ito if ever hindi ako makasama sa final [cut], maganda para sa akin para maka compete with the younger guys,” he closed.