MANILA – Despite getting to play only limited minutes for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League, Tzaddy Rangel believes he is now good enough to compete in the next level, that is, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Gilas Pilipinas Men.
“Given a chance, gagawin ko lang po ‘yung usual na ginagawa ko (I will just do the usual things I do: following the system and sticking to my strengths. ‘Yun lang po ‘yung focus ko (That is my only focus right now),” the six-foot-eight center said on Wednesday night in the Sports on Air podcast.
Rangel had to play behind the shadows of towering Sam Deguara at Alab and even Alfred Aroga during his college years at National University.
Thus, Rangel believes he might not get selected early into the PBA Draft set on March 14.
“Ang ine-expect ko talaga is third round or fourth round kasi seldom-used player po ako. Kaya hindi nila masyado ako nakikita. Wala masyadong hype sa pangalan ko (I am expecting to be drafted in the third or fourth round because I am a seldom used player. So they do not see me more often. There is not much hype in my name),” he said.
So when the announcement came that he was chosen to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas Men pool, which also meant that he will be inserted into the special Gilas Men round instead of the regular draft, Rangel was surprised especially that he only found out about it just as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced it.
“Nakita ko lang po na may article, tapos nagulat po ako. ‘Di ko talaga in-expect na magkaka-chance akong makuha (I only saw the news in an article, and I was surprised. I did not expect that I would get a chance to be selected to the pool),” he said.
The development also meant Rangel would be among the first four picks of the draft in general, a huge jump from the third round of the regular draft.
“Bigla akong umangat (I suddenly moved up),” Rangel quipped.
Despite all of these, the 24-year-old prospect knows he has to step up his game.
“Responsibility din po ‘yun (It is also a responsibility to be part of Gilas Men. Given a chance, kailangang pumukpok na (I need to grind it out now. Ibibigay ko na lahat (I will give my all),” Rangel vowed. (PNA)