MANILA--Tzaddy Rangel admitted on Wednesday night that he had no idea that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas called him up to the Gilas Pilipinas Men pool until the governing body itself announced his inclusion.
"Nakita ko lang po na may article, tapos nagulat po ako. 'Di ko talaga in-expect na magkaka-chance akong makuha," the former Alab Pilipinas center bared how he only found out about the national team call-up in the Sports on Air podcast.
Although he said that his agent actually called him up regarding the Gilas Men call-up prior to the announcement, he only believed it upon seeing the SBP's statement.
"Na-excite po ako," Rangel added.
Upon his inclusion to the Gilas Men pool, the six-foot-seven big man was also elevated to the special Gilas round for the upcoming PBA Draft on March 14, essentially meaning he is now within the top four picks of the draft.
Even that, according to Rangel, is a surprise as he further revealed that he is not expecting himself to be drafted within the first two rounds of the regular draft.
"Ang ine-expect ko talaga is third round or fourth round kasi seldom used player po ako, kaya hindi nila masyado ako nakikita. Wala masyadong hype sa pangalan ko," he further said.
Having to play as a third string center mainly behind Sam Deguara for Alab in the ABL and even as a backup to Alfred Aroga for National University in the UAAP, the expectations are indeed not that high for Rangel.
So being chosen to the Gilas Men pool is a major breakthrough for his career.
"Bigla akong umangat," Rangel quipped.
With his inclusion to the pool, he is aware that he now needs to step up his game.
"Responsibility din po yun. Given a chance, kailangang pumukpok na. Ibigay mo na lahat," Rangel vowed.
Despite this, Rangel believes he is now good enough to compete in the PBA level of play.
"Given a chance, gagawin ko lang po yung usual na ginagawa ko: following the system and sticking to my strengths. Yun lang po yung focus ko," he further said.
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