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Chris Newsome 'definitely blessed' to be considered for Gilas pool

Chris Newsome sees a potential Gilas callup after finally getting a clearance to play as a Filipino as a blessing. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Chris Newsome is among the new names that have been reportedly eyed for the Gilas Pilipinas pool to the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers later this month.

The six-foot-two combo guard was previously being challenged about his Filipino citizenship, so he was scratched from Meralco's lineup for the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

However, Newsome recently got a FIBA clearance, making him eligible to play in a tournament sanctioned by basketball's global body as a Filipino.

While nothing has been cast in stone yet, especially since the Bolts could still make the PBA Philippine Cup Finals if they beat the San Miguel Beermen in the semifinals--all the more that the Bolts tied their best-of-seven series on Friday, for Newsome, just being considered for the Gilas pool is already a blessing.

"Just being considered is a blessing for me. I won't take that for granted," Newsome said following Game 2 of the San Miguel-Meralco series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Newsome admitted that he acquired his Philippine passport way after he reached 16 years old, but according to him, during that time, the rule requiring players of mixed descent to obtain a passport of the country they want to represent before turning 16 was not yet in place.

"I was already 20 years old at the time that I got my passport. I was already enrolled in Ateneo at that time," he bared. "We thought everything would be OK. I was actually gonna suit up for the SEA Games when I first got here. Coach Norman [Black] was coaching. That's when they implemented the rule. That's when I found out that that dream was gonna be on hold."

Eventually, FIBA cleared the now 31-year-old Newsome to play as a local since he already graduated from Ateneo and has been living in the Philippines for 11 years now.

"Luckily enough, they turned out to be OK," he further said.

Newsome then vowed, "If the opportunity comes, I'll give everything I have. That's just the type of player that I am."

For now, though, according to him, "My focus is here with Meralco, and about Gilas, we'll worry about that whenever we get there."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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