Ateneo’s Koon impressed with young Gilas cagers after ‘Calambubble’ experience
Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) – December 3, 2020 – 11:52am
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo’s latest recruit Filipino-American Chris Koon was not surprised by the dominant performance of a young Gilas Pilipinas squad in the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain.
Having seen first-hand the preparations done for the pocket tournament as part of the players practicing in the “Calambubble” weeks before the competition, Koon expected a well-prepared squad going up against the much older Thailand players.
“They did [impress] but I wasn’t really surprised,” said Koon during an episode of Tiebreaker Vods’ 2OT last Tuesday.
“Being at practice, you can tell the coaches had us really well prepared for Thailand… I wasn’t really surprised but [it] was definitely impressive,” he said.
The 19-year-old swingman, who led Rolling Hills Prep in Los Angeles California to three straight CIF Southern Section championships and a CIF state title, was called up by SBP Program director and Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin to reinforce the training pool.
Being around the top players of the next generation of Gilas Pilipinas stars, Koon talked about the talent and chemistry that the program was able to develop in just a short time.
“I think everybody really bought into their roles and to what we needed to do and just that one common goal when you’re playing for your country,” said Koon.
“I think everybody bought into their role, that’s why it worked out the way it did,” he added.
With two big wins over Thailand, Koon expects the national team to grow even more before the third window tips off in February.
“It definitely gives confidence and a little more trust with the people in general,” he said.
“As the system gets more developed and everybody gets more familiar with it, I think it’s just gonna be more efficient and by the time the window in February comes around, everybody’s gonna be more familiar with it and just gonna be better,” he added.
Koon will be redshirting for a year before being eligible to play for the Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 84.