Rondae Hollis-Jefferson savors Fiba World Cup experience despite winless stint
MANILA, Philippines-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is grateful for the chance to play in the Fiba World Cup despite Jordan ending the campaign with a winless slate.
The former NBA player and PBA champion import delivered an impressive performance in front of familiar surroundings, emerging as one of the interesting stories through the first two phases of the tournament.
“Extremely grateful to be a part of it,” Hollis-Jefferson said after Jordan’s 93-80 loss to Mexico in the classification round at Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday. “I’m thankful to Jordan for allowing me to be a part of it—top to bottom.”
Hollis-Jefferson averaged 23.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals in front of an audience that in the mid part of Jordan’s stint began shouting “Kobe” over his resemblance to the late NBA great, in terms of appearance and playing style.
But Jordan dropped all five matches and placed dead last in the 32-team field to miss out on an Olympic Qualifying Tournament berth.
“When you at it like ‘Rondae, you played well but you didn’t get a win,’” Hollis-Jefferson lamented. “I feel like at those moments, they can chant ‘Kobe!’ but I know a lot of times that Kobe took the game. I feel that the most, not helping the team win. That hurts.”
Still, Hollis-Jefferson can only be content with how the past few months have been for him, first when he was able to carry TNT to the PBA Governors’ Cup title before getting an unexpected offer to join Jordan.
And now his next focus is Jordan’s campaign in the Hangzhou Asian Games before flying back to Manila to once again play for TNT in the PBA’s season-opening Commissioner’s Cup.
“I would say that this experience has been fun,” he said. “To be able to have this journey, not expecting to be on a national team, it’s been a journey and I appreciate every minute of it, to be able to compete at the highest level. It means the world to me.”