During Gilas Pilipinas’ second Monday session for the year, the National Team were 19 strong. But there was a 20th man, an American, who was practicing and doing the same drills as the team.
TNT import Donté Greene was actively practicing with Gilas. And according to National Team mentor Chot Reyes, the four-year NBA veteran just wanted to get some “shots up.”
“He just arrived few days ago, so he wanted to get some extra floor time, practice, shots up. He wanted to sweat and perspire, and we were more than welcome to give him the chance to work with us,” Reyes said.
“Coach asked me if I want to workout with the team, just trying to shake off my legs after a long flight. It’s good to come out and have them see me,” Greene furthered.
But with Andray Blatche’s commitment to Gilas still at a stalemate, both Gilas and Greene showed signs of mutual interest making his appearance in this session his audition.
“You never know, if the situation comes up where he can naturalized, that’s not a bad thing to have options always,” Reyes furthered.
“I know how he played from the past, the NBA, [his] playing days in Syracuse, but we have to see him actually coming here to play, and figure out how he’s going to be able to adapt to the locals, to his teammates.”
Greene, for his part, is impressed with what he saw.
“It’s a talented bunch out here,” the 29-year-old shared with astonishment.
“There’s some size out here,” he added while pointing to June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar. “[When] You think Filipinos, you don’t think much of height but that couple of big and athletic guys and strong guards, the team is good.”
Seeing this and knowing how big the basketball culture is in the Philippines, the 28th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft is open to becoming a naturalized Filipino.
“Possibly, down the road play [I can] be part of the team,” Greene shared.
“Like I said, we’re not thinking about it in the short term or the midterm, this is really more of a long-term thing,” Reyes furthered about the reason why Greene was invited.
“We’ll see how it turns out.”