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From Ginebra to Gilas: Transition smooth for Malonzo

For high-flying wingman Jamie Malonzo, the transition to play from Barangay Ginebra to Gilas Pilipinas has been seamless thus far, considering he's with fellow Gin Kings Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar as well as head coach Tim Cone in the national squad.

Jamie Malonzo FIBA PHOTO

What's more, some of the defensive schemes applied at Gilas have been adapted from Ginebra. Cone, the PBA's all-time winningest coach, serves as one of Gilas coach Chot Reyes' assistants.

“We take a lot of things in Ginebra and we bring it over to the Gilas team,” Malonzo told One Sports' Carlo Pamintuan in a recent interview posted at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' Facebook page.

“With coaches describing something for say, defense, you sort of already know what he's talking about, we have a good idea,” he explained. “Oftentimes, they use Scottie or Japeth as the examples because they know what's going on and what coach Cone's system is, we take a lot of things from Ginebra and bring it to Gilas.”

The 6-foot-7 Malonzo considers himself a new kid on the block under Cone's Ginebra team, since being acquired by the league's most popular in a three-team, multiple player trade in September 2022.

But the 26-year-old former Portland State University graduate and La Salle Green Archer has eventually turned into a valuable contributor for Ginebra, which went on to rule the 2022-23 Commissioner's Cup after subduing foreign squad Bay Area in a seven-game title series.

His excellent showing earned him a call up again for Gilas after being included in the 20-man pool that is preparing for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Now part of Gilas' training camp in Europe, Malonzo has been absorbing everything he can as he tries to crack the final 12 roster and hopefully, contribute to the Philippines' drive to make a strong showing in the FIBA World Cup, which the country is co-hosting this August.

“It's very exciting, and it's amazing. Never would I have thought to play for the Philippines while they are hosting teams like Team USA and all the other great countries,” said a beaming Malonzo, who averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.9 minutes of action for Gilas during the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I'm excited to see how it will happen, with a bunch of big names coming to Manila.”

Malonzo also knows he's got big shoes to fill, having been compared to former long-time Gilas player Gabe Norwood.

“He's (Norwood) the one that sort of paved the way for guys like me coming in. Being able to fill in some shoes like that means a lot,” he said.

“I truly hope I can fill in those shoes wisely and greatly. Hopefully get some poster dunks like Gabe for sure. Obviously some big shoes to fill in, shoutout to Gabe,” Malonzo said, with a big smile.

Norwood spent a total of 12 years playing for the Philippine team that started during the 2007 William Jones Cup, and concluding with the Gilas squad's 2019 FIBA World Cup appearance in China.

The 6-foot-6 Norwood's memorable World Cup moment was posterizing Argentina's legendary big man Luis Scola during a fastbreak play in the 2014 FIBA basketball showpiece in Seville, Spain.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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