After soaring into PBA lore, Newsome hopes to make the same impact for Gilas Pilipinas | Inquirer Sports

After soaring into PBA lore, Newsome hopes to make the same impact for Gilas Pilipinas

Chris Newsome Meralco Bolts PBA Finals Game 6

Meralco Bolts’ Chris Newsome during Game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.–MARLO CUETO/

Last week saw Chris Newsome weave himself into PBA lore with a shot that ended Meralco’s long wait for a championship.

But next week will see Newsome test himself once more against some of the best international basketball has to offer, with a bigger role expected of him for Gilas Pilipinas in the OIympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

“I’m a natural competitor, and I want to see what I’m capable of,” said Newsome, who is seen as a key cog in Gilas’ daunting task facing host Latvia and Georgia in Riga for the final phase of qualification for the Paris Games.


Odds are stacked against Gilas, with Latvia and Georgia seen as the two sides progressing past Group A of the OQT phase which starts July 2.

But Newsome will head to the OQT with confidence at a high level following a performance that keyed Meralco’s triumph over San Miguel and end the franchise’s 14-year wait for a PBA crown.

Important presence

His heroic role, ending with a baseline jumper in Game 6 that sealed the championship, capped off a season in which Newsome has been playing at a level never before seen since he entered the league in 2015.

Much of the credit is on his important presence in Gilas’ victory in the Hangzhou Asian Games, a result that ended the Philippines’ 61-year gold medal drought.


“It definitely helped me going up against [some of] the best in the world,” he said. “It helped me understand where I am as a player and what skills that I have to work on.”

Winning a PBA title and his newfound status as one of the country’s best players, however, can’t satisfy Newsome, who’ll now try to not only put Gilas in a position to give both European countries a run for their money, but also hold his own against the players he’ll go up against.


“Sometimes, I fail. But I’m okay with failing, because I know I did my best,” he said. “Even with this [PBA] championship, I have so much to improve on.”

Gilas is wrapping its short camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, and is scheduled to take on the Taiwan Mustangs of The Asian Tournament on Monday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

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Then it’s off to Europe for Gilas for tune-up matches with Turkey and Poland in the leadup to the OQT.

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas

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