From star-struck to star: Gerald Anderson proves he belongs to the pros

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Overshadowed by the GenSan Warriors’ lowly 0-3 record in the on-going Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational powered by TM is the fact that Gerald Anderson is emerging as a reliable go-to guy in the tournament so far.

The celebrity baller just put up 30 points which included six triples in a two-game span within 24 hours, albeit both coming in losing efforts for his squad.

“‘Yun nga, nakakalungkot lang na it hasn’t translated yet into wins, pero let’s see, the last two games,” Anderson told Sports Bytes Philippines in an exclusive interview.

It’s amusing to find out from the 32-year-old actor himself that in his first season in the MPBL, it was actually him getting “star-struck” sharing the floor with more established pro basketball players rather than the other way around.

“‘Yung first season ko, nai-istarstruck pa ako sa lahat, tapos natutuwa lang ako na kasama ako dito,” Anderson said of his maiden MPBL stint with the Marikina franchise which gave him an opportunity to play high-level Philippine basketball.

Never a team’s token guy to begin with, Anderson always dedicated time to honing his craft in the basketball industry.

A testament to that was his respectable second stint with the Imus Bandera squad during the Lakan Season where he was a regular starter who’d put up double-digit scoring each game and impacted the game with his on-ball defense and hustle.

And with the MPBL turning pro, Anderson knew it was a the perfect chance to solidify his name as a legitimate basketball player — and he did that in his first three games in the invitational, averaging 10.7 PPG as part of the Warriors’ regular rotation.

“Iba na ‘tong invitational eh, siyempre andito tayo para manalo na eh. Three years na rin akong naglalaro, so wala nang excuse,” Anderson shared. “‘Yung parang artista factor, wala na ‘yun eh.”

Noticeably, Anderson has added even more aspects to his game, like his driving and finishing which were not that present in the previous seasons.

The 5-foot-11 combo guard said he worked tremendously in spite of the pandemic situation to stay in tip-top shape while also balancing it with his rigorous schedule and workload in the acting side of things.

“Every day, work out pa rin, training pa rin, even if hindi namin alam kung kailan mag-sstart ang liga. Kahit nasa taping ako, training pa rin para hindi mawala. At least ready kahit papano,” he said.

In the tournament, Anderson has also been locked in, assuming a leadership role in a squad that also includes the likes of Pamboy Raymundo and Ronjay Buenafe.

“First season pa lang, siyempre ‘yung confidence kailangan nandoon. The first season na naglaro ako with Marikina, nangangapa pa ako,” Anderson added. “Sabi ko nga, kahit ang score ko, zero, basta makakatulong ako sa defense, sa energy, sa stops para manalo kami, it’s also a win for me.”

Anderson is already looking forward to the planned 2022 MPBL regular season to further establish his basketball career, which is fitting, because he’s proven that it’s where he belongs.

“Of course, of course (I will play). ‘Yun lang, sana sakto sa schedule (ko), but of course,” he closed.

Photos from Chooks-to-Go MPBL

Levi Verora