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Alejandro on teaming up with college rivals for Gilas Cadets: "It's always been my dream"

JJay Alejandro now finds himself becoming teammates with Juan Gomez De Liaño among other college basketball stars with Gilas Cadets. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--In his five years with NU in the UAAP, JJay Alejandro became one of the team's top gunners and eventually developed a one-on-one rivalry of sorts with UP's own top scorer Paul Desiderio and Ateneo's own scoring machine Thirdy Ravena.

But on Monday night, the three players were seen together inside the Meralco Gym representing one team: Gilas Pilipinas.

"It's always been my dream na maging kakampi yung mga nakalaban ko," said Alejandro, who was named to the Gilas Cadets pool along with Desiderio and Ravena.

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He even thinks teaming up with his former adversaries is beneficial for him, especially that they are with the national team.

"Malaking factor sa akin na makakuha ako ng experience galing sa kanila at ma-apply ko sa laro and syempre yung camaraderie ng brotherhood," Alejandro continued. "For me and the whole group, andito kami to play for the country and give our best. Yun lang muna iniisip namin."

The 22-year-old guard admitted that he was surprised to be called up to the cadets pool at his current age, but Bulldogs head coach Jamike Jarin, a former national youth team coach, already saw it coming.

"Sinabihan lang ako ni Coach Jamike na mag-ready. Baka matawag ako sa Gilas Cadets," Alejandro said. "Ayun, last week, sinabihan na nila ako."

Now that he's with the Gilas Cadets, Alejandro will continue to take heart what Jarin has been telling him.

"Pusuan mo lang," Alejandro bared. "Lagyan mo lang ng puso and buo lang ang loob."

Interestingly enough, that has been Gilas' battle cry for years now.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno