FILIPINO-Nigerian AJ Edu believes the Philippines has a very bright future in qualifying for the Olympics.
A University of Toledo Dean’s Lister, majoring in business and innovation in Ohio, United States (US), the 20-year-old talked about the Philippine basketball team and his ongoing recovery from knee injury on Radyo Singko’s “Power and Play with Noli Eala” on Saturday.
“I think the future is very, very bright. I played with quite a few of the guys you mentioned. With the things going right now, I think it’s the right direction,” said Edu. “I believe that we can make it to the Olympics one day, especially with the talent we have up and coming. I definitely believe we can.”
Edu said that it wasn’t hard for him to decide to choose the Philippines as the country for which he would play.
“I mean, it’s [as] simple as their passion for basketball in the Philippines. Compared to Nigeria, Cyprus or even in the UK (United Kingdom), basketball is not really as much of interest [for] the general population as [it] is in the Philippines,” explained Edu, whose father is a Nigerian and whose mother is a Filipina.
“I would love to represent those types of people, [who are passionate about basketball]. It’s a simple decision and wasn’t difficult,” he admitted.
He gave more details about the progress of his healing from the knee injury he sustained in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-19 World Cup last June in Greece. “I mean it’s been, obviously, a long recovery process, but it’s been very good. I was blessed, obviously, with the whole situation right now with the virus. We have a little bit…this difficult…but my knees are feeling very good; I say around 80 to 85 percent feeling good.”
“I can shoot, and I can dunk. I feel great too. They are sending me programs that I can follow. That’s what I am doing. When the injury first happened, I looked to it like a blessing in disguise; really an opportunity to focus on my basketball handles and my shooting. I am just going to keep working,” he admitted.
Unlike the 7’2” Kai Sotto, Edu has taken a different path towards reaching his goal of making it to the National Basketball Association (NBA). While Sotto is skipping college to play for the NBA G League, Edu is presently playing for the University of Toledo in the US National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1.
“Obviously, first of all, huge congratulations to him (Sotto). I already told him it’s definitely an intriguing pathway to take. The major advantage is that he’ll be directly linked with the NBA. You have great access with NBA scouts and coaches,” he conceded.
“It’s a very good route for him, and I think he could potentially be successful,” encouraged Edu.