One of the final cuts from the Fiba World Cup roster, Chris Newsome turned in a performance to remember on Friday night as Gilas Pilipinas clinched its first Asian Games basketball gold in a long while.
Newsome finished with 13 points while keeping Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to just 24 points on 8-for-29 shooting in the Philippines’ 70-60 triumph over Jordan at Hangzhou Olympic Centre Gymnasium in China.
The Meralco Bolts star said his performance eased the pain of not making the squad that played in the global showcase hosted by the Philippines last month.
“Everyone knows I wanted to be part of that Fiba lineup, especially (it) being at home,” he told reporters before heading for the locker room.
“It hurts to get cut but I always kept telling myself that if this isn’t my time, then it’s somebody else’s. So I went out and still supported (the World Cup) team to the best of my abilities. God had better plans for me and right now is the fruition of when God had other plans.
Newsome said that he is proud that he was able to rise to the Gilas brain trust’s challenge of keeping up against Hollis-Jefferson, a former Brooklyn Nets starter.
“Man, everyone knows he’s a beast. He’s a world class athlete, an NBA-caliber athlete. Coach Tim (Cone) gave me the task to guard him today and for me that’s a great challenge to see where I’m at. I’m the type to never back down from a challenge. And that’s what I wanted to accept‚—that I was open to accepting that task,” he said.
“We know it’s a tough task, but of course we understand it’s not impossible. At least I was able to slow down him a bit. So just happy to be able to do my job today. Got to give credit to the team for trusting me and having my back as well,” he went on.
A winner in the Southeast Asian Games and now an Asian champion, Newsome hopes that his story inspires a lot of athletes out there—no matter how steep the trek they are on.
“Sometimes it may not be your time. It’s for everybody out there. But if you stay steady, stay consistent, pray and just continue to believe and work hard every single day, you’ll finally get (a break),” he said.
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“So keep working hard and good things will happen. There’s a lot of ups and downs in life and just fighting those down times praying a lot and staying faithful to what you do and have good people around you eventually good things will happen.”