JAKARTA — On board the plane to Jakarta, Don Trollano was enjoying the comfort of sitting at the first class seat, perhaps the only time he was able to experience such.
He was looking at the prospect of possibly cracking the national team line up as the Rain or Shine-backed Pilipinas was already bracing for another possible scenario.
At the practices, his teammates had a running joke, calling him names, the most notable was “Don Clarkson.” Whether they like it or not, their names will be mentioned in the same breath, at least after the Asian Games.
“Oo nga eh, lalo na si Coach Yeng (Guiao). Tinatawag akong Don Clarkson,” Trollano told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview. “Tapos sina Beau (Belga) and yung ibang teammates ko kapag tumitira ako sa ensayo, sumisigaw sila ng “Clarkson.”
The TNT swingman was living a dream and for the past few days he was relishing the moment.
All these came to an end late Tuesday when the NBA issued a statement, giving Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson his wish of playing for the Philippine men’s basketball team in the men’s basketball tournament of the Asian Games.
Trollano is out of the line up and Clarkson is in and the Filipino cager’s roller-coaster ride was indeed no joke.
How painful this could be for the man who came so close of taking over the spot reserved for the NBA player and fulfil his dream of playing for the Philippine flag.
“Kilala ko si Don, madali naman yan makakaintindi. Of course, gusto rin niyang makalaro. Kaya lang, alam naman rin niya yung importance ni Jordan Clarkson. That’s not going to be hard to explain to him, ” said Guiao.
Trollano is not taking his exclusion in the line up as personal and remains hopeful that he’ll be given another opportunity similar to this in the future.
“Kakaiba yung situation eh,” added Trollano. “Para akong nasa roller-coaster. Up, down, up, down. Pero ang gusto lang naman nila yung ikabubuti ng team. With Jordan, mas mataas yung chance manalo, so happy rin ako for the team.”
With Clarkson taking over his spot, Trollano might play a different role for the squad and Guiao has gladly reserved a spot for him.
“Marunong naman siyang magmasahe eh,” Guiao said in jest.
Turning serious, the fiery mentor added that Trollano will play a special role at practice.
“He’s going to stay and he’s going to be part of the practice.”
For Trollano, he’s willing to provide whatever role in a small but valuable way, for the team.
“Marami pa naman akong pagkakataon eh. Pero for now, tutulungan ko muna sila sa practice. Siguro, provide ng extra body,” added Trollano.