Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin praised Francis “LeBron” Lopez for showing composure and discipline in his first appearance for the seniors team at just 18 years old.
Known for his highlights, Lopez played within the system as he proved to be a model of efficiency in the Philippines’ 76-51 romp of Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Friday, June 18.
In under 10 minutes of play, Lopez registered 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal.
“I thought the most impressive thing about LeBron tonight was I could see that there was excitement there,” Baldwin said.
“But he really made an effort to be composed and to play composed and to do the little things right at both ends of the floor.”
Lopez made a name for himself in the high school scene with his aerial exploits for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets as he earned a spot in the UAAP Season 82 juniors Mythical Team.
But those highlights may come scarce as Lopez and his teammates stay within the system Baldwin and his coaching staff have put in place.
“[T]he only thing that we want in our program to be spectacular is the results and the performances,” Baldwin said.
“With LeBron buying in the way that he is buying in, we may sacrifice some of the highlights, but I think that eventually, long-term, we’ll have a tremendous basketball player on our hands.”
“I think that is what we all want, really at the end of the day.”
Baldwin added Lopez has plenty to showcase as he continues to mature.
“LeBron is there because we believe he belongs there and we believe in his future,” Baldwin said.
“What he did tonight is an example of a good start for him, but only a drop in the bucket of what we expect in the future.” – Rappler.com