By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

PART of the Batang Gilas program for just a year, 16-year-old Terrence Fortea said he is very happy and satisfied with how his national team career has been going so far.
Fresh from their stint in the FIBA U16 Asian Cup where they finished fourth but nonetheless qualified for the U17 Basketball World Cup later this year, Fortea said it was an experience he would never forget and only made his inclusion in Batang Gilas all the more significant.
“I had a great experience in FIBA Asia. It was very memorable, something that will stick with me forever,” said Fortea, of San Juan City, in a recent interview with BusinessWorld.
Joined Batang Gilas just last year, first playing in the Southeast Asian Basketball Championship (SEABA), Fortea shared that he has learned a lot as a player being a member of the national youth team.
“It has helped my development tremendously. Whereas before you just go out and play, with Batang Gilas you learn other facets of the game and makes you a better player. Credit to my coaches and teammates for that,” said Fortea, who plays for the National University Bullpups.
In the recent FIBA U16 Asian Cup in China, Fortea posted steady numbers of 11.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
He also forged a special bond on the court with seven-foot teammate Kai Sotto, who he said he likes playing with for the big man makes the game easy for their team and also help him as a player.
“Playing with Kai Sotto makes things easy for me as a guard. You just have to learn how he plays the game and just take it from there. He is a great player and I’m looking forward to playing with him in the national team for years to come,” said 5’10” guard Fortea.
A product of San Juan Elementary School where he first turned heads with his basketball skills, Fortea said he is very appreciative of the opportunities given him even at such a young age, including the support of the people in his community.
“The support of my town mates in Barangay Progreso in San Juan has been overwhelming. They never fail to show their support every time I play for the national team. They come up to me and say I played well and just keep on doing what I’m doing,” he said.
“I’m proud to represent San Juan and hopefully I’m inspiring other kids as well to go for their dreams and make something out of their lives,” Fortea added.
In closing, Fortea said that apart from his national duties he also hopes to make the most of his two years left with the Bullpups, helping the team achieve steady success armed with the lessons he has gotten from Batang Gilas.
Batang Gilas, backed by Smart Communications, Inc. and Chooks-to-Go, will play in the FIBA U17 World Cup from June 30 to July 8 in Argentina.