Hontiveros is back into action for Gilas
A pained look crossed the face of Kevin Braswell, the playing coach of the New Zealand team when Dondon Hontiveros, hot as fire swished in three triples in an overtime game in the 37th William Jones Cup held in Taipei a few weeks ago.
Hontiveros is now a four-time National team member as he makes it into the the 12-man Gilas line-up of coach Tab Baldwin, who’ll represent the country in the upcoming 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
Video by Sports5
Among the games he played in the Jones Cup, it was their game against New Zealand where he showcase the man behind his monicker, Cebuano Hotshot, giving the Gilas coaching staffs a hint of why they need to include him in the final pool. Gilas rallied from a 16-point deficit in the 3rd quarter and forced it into overtime.
Hontiveros, known for his defensive skills stayed on the court for the whole fourth period to play and defend the explosive guard, Eric Devendorf of New Zealand. “It always feels good to be trusted. All players want to have that experience, to end games, ’cause you learn a lot during that time.” Hontiveros said when asked about the trust coach Tab is giving him.
Hontiveros swished in a triple that gave Gilas the lead to open the OT period, 81-78, then swished in two more triples to keep the lead ahead from New Zealand. It wasn’t new for every Filipino basketball fans to see the heart of Dondon in playing for the country. He played for the Philippine national team in 2002 and 2007. He also donned the national colors for Smart-Gilas Team Pilipinas in 2011 and played in the 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup here in Manila.
Being with the Alaska Aces has been a big factor for the Cebuano Hotshot to finally win back his confidence to join Gilas due to the kind of mindset the team possessed and maintaining composure under pressure. “I have my moments too that I wasn’t able to deliver. I missed free throws to force overtime or win the games, missed a shot and other things but the important thing is how you grow from the situations. So, I just stay focused and think of how I can help the team in anyway possible.” The 38-year old veteran added, recalling his off night games in 18 years of playing pro-basketball.
Every spot in the 12-man pool is an important factor for the Gilas team and to coach Tab. And the membership of Dondon is something that the coaching staffs and the fans wouldn’t call a waste. Gilas can surely count on to his clutch treys, defensive skills, and to his vintage heart that has been and will always be passionate to Philippine basketball.
Gilas welcomes back the Cebuano Hotshot, Dondon Hontiveros!
Written by Annadin Devero Sorbito
Nadin is from Bais City, Negros Oriental and currently studying BSED-English. She’s a frustrated journalist and has been an avid fan of basketball for most part of her life.