Pogoy named one of 7 most improved national players in Asia

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    WINGMAN Roger Pogoy is fast proving his worth for Gilas Pilipinas.

    Need proof?

    The 6-foot-2 gunner has been ranked by FIBA.com as one of the seven “most improved” national team players in Asia last Tuesday.

    “As a solid defensive wing who can score in multiple ways, Pogoy has been valuable to Gilas. Alongside veteran teammates with bigger roles like Jayson Castro, Pogoy has done well in plugging as a role player,” FIBA.com said.

    “Playing with a younger squad at the Qualifiers, the national team needed him to shoulder a bit more of the load and Pogoy responded with an efficient scoring game.”

    Also making it to the list were Muin Bek Hafeez of India, Hassan Abdullah of Iraq, Maxim Marchuk of Kazakhstan, Jordan Ngatai of New Zealand, Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem of Qatar, and Abdulwahab Alhamwi of Syria.

    The former Far Eastern University standout, who plays for TNT in the pro league, made it to the list based on comparative statistics from his stint with Gilas in the last four years.

    Pogoy, 28, averaged 16 points and six rebounds in 22.8 minutes in the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last February, an improvement from his averages of 7.0 points and 3.5 rebounds during the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.

    After winning a title with the Tamaraws in his swan song in the UAAP in 2015, Pogoy was tabbed by the KaTropa in the special draft in 2016 and promptly made an impact by bagging the Rookie of the Year award.

    Pogoy also suited up for the Yeng Guiano-mentored Gilas five in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

    The native of Talisay City, Cebu, said his success is a product of hard work.

    “Ang daming nagsasabi sa akin na sa Cebu lang daw ako magaling, kasi noong unang punta ko sa FEU, hindi kaagad ako gamit. Tapos sa Cebu, noong high school ako, MVP ako. Parang sabi nila, ‘Ah sa Cebu lang iyan magaling’,” Pogoy said in the 2OT podcast.

    “Ilang years ako nagtiis rin sa FEU, kasi pasundot-sundot lang iyong pasok ko. Tiis tsaka sipag lang talaga.”

    With interim coach Mark Dickel, also TNT active consultant, calling the shots, Pogoy scored 16 points, to go with six rebounds in Gilas’ 100-70 whipping of Indonesia last Feb. 24.

    The Filipino dribblers were set to clash with Thailand last Feb. 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, but the match was called off due to the threat posed by COVID-19.

    Gilas’ next games are set in November this year and in February next year, but both windows have yet to be confirmed due to the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the coronavirus crisis.