It took nearly a decade, but Jordan Heading is more than delighted that he will be able to don the national colors again.
The Filipino-Australian will debut for Gilas Pilipinas in the third and final window of the FIBA World Cup this June, almost 10 years since he last played for the national team as part of the youth squad.
“It has been awesome. The call-up to the team obviously has been a little quicker than I thought. I’m really thankful for that and I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Heading said.
Heading last saw action for the Philippines when he reinforced Batang Gilas in the 2011 FIBA Asia U16 Championship in Vietnam, helping the crew secure a fourth-place finish.
Since then, he has played for the California Baptist Lancers in the US NCAA, where he averaged 15.2 points on 46% shooting to go with 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in his final season.
Heading pursued a professional career with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League before he got loaned to Gilas Pilipinas as he joined the special PBA Draft earlier in 2021.
“I had an amazing time with Batang Gilas and I’m sure my experience here is going to be greater,” Heading said.
As one of the oldest at 25 years old, Heading is expected to take on a leadership role for the all-cadet national team, which is composed of several high school and collegiate players.
“In terms of my experience with the game and having played in the States and Australia and nationally with the Philippines, it is just sort of trying to bring in my experiences and help these young guys keep their heads from stressful situations,” Heading said.
With guards Matt Nieto, Dave Ildefonso, and Rey Suerte sidelined due to injuries, it is now up to the likes of Heading to rise to the occasion as the Nationals take on South Korea and Indonesia in the third window.
Undefeated in Group C with a 3-0 record, the Philippines has to win at least one of its last three games to qualify for the Asia Cup.
“The talent level is really there. So we just have to go out and play as a unit, play in a system, and hopefully get the job done,” Heading said.
“All our guards are ready to do the jobs that are asked of them, the jobs that need to be done.” – Rappler.com