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MANILA, Philippines – Just like Jordan Heading pictured it.
Heading basked in the moment of playing before a home crowd for the first time as Gilas Pilipinas cruised to a 107-96 win over Lebanon in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Friday, February 24.
Thousands of fans showed up at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan to witness the Filipinos avenge their 85-81 loss to the Cedars in Beirut.
“It was always everything that I’ve dreamed of and it was just so amazing. The players, the atmosphere playing in the Philippine Arena, it was just super fun,” said Heading.
The Filipino-Australian gunner is no stranger to playing home games as he suited in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers nearly two years ago.
Heading and that group, though, battled behind closed doors in Clark, Pampanga.
“In my earlier Gilas days, we’re in the bubble so I was not able to experience the Gilas crowd,” he said. “It was amazing being back here. I always have the time of my life with Gilas.”
@rappler #JordanHeading says he always has 'time of my life' with #GilasPilipinas #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #tiktokph #newsph #rappler #sportsnews ♬ original sound – Rappler
Heading also relished his national team return after being away from the squad for over a year since his contract row with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Pushing through with his decision to see action for the Taichung Suns in Taiwan despite having a live contract with the national team, Heading missed the SEA Games, Asia Cup, and the first five windows of the Asian Qualifiers.
Now with the Nagasaki Velca of the Japan B. League, the 27-year-old received a call-up to come back and did not disappoint.
Heading scored 10 points on top of 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 22 minutes of play to help fill the void left by injured guard Roger Pogoy.
“The love and support of the country and also just the brotherhood of the guys, it is really fun to be a part of. A special, special team,” said Heading.
“It is something that means so much for us and something that means so much for the country.” – Rappler.com