Chris Newsome, part of ‘deepest cut,’ relishes unsung hero role for Gilas
Chris Newsome wouldn’t have been faulted if he stayed at home for the Philippines’ first game in the Fiba World Cup on Friday.
The Meralco guard has been the most consistent volunteer for the national program, hauling his bags to every gym where Gilas Pilipinas was holding auditions for roster spots. He was also part of what national coach Chot Reyes called “the deepest cut” the team’s tacticians had to make to trim the roster to a final 12.
And yet, there he was at Philippine Arena, helping the team get warmed up for the game against Dominican Republic.
“That just shows that I’m committed to this program 100 percent, I’m going to do whatever the program needs, the coaches need, in order for us to be successful,” Newsome told reporters.
No one can ever question Newsome’s commitment. Not only was he the lone player cut from the pool who joined the team, but he has always responded to Gilas Pilipinas’ past calls for warm bodies. And had he been in the team, he would have also left everything on the court for the national team.
But being cut did not change his desire to help the squad.
“I wanna be on that 12. I wanna be on the court but the circumstances being what it is, I gotta find a way to help the team in any way that I can so that’s out there rebounding, helping the guys warm up. That’s what I gotta do,” the 33-year-old PBA veteran said.
He even gave a short lecture on one very Filipino trait.
“I try to help the guys warm up, I try to be there mentally and also vocally and tell them what I see. I think the guys really appreciate that and you know, I’m just doing my share. For us to be something special, everybody [has] gotta do their share and the Filipino word for that is bayanihan,” Newsome said. “Everybody has to do their part. Even though I’m not on the court, I can still help in little ways and I hope I showed that tonight. I hope I showed that to all the fans out there that I’m still willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to this team.”
Newsome will continue that role when the Philippines battles Angola in a crucial match on Sunday, when the team tries to keep alive a bid to book a Paris Olympics berth.
Newsome has proven his worth when he’s on the team, providing quality minutes in the two qualifier games he played and being instrumental in bringing back the country’s gold in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
In the World Cup, he’s proving his value again despite being off it.