Heading waiting for Gilas call

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Heading waiting for Gilas call
Jordan Heading

MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Australian sharpshooter Jordan Heading is in Adelaide staying in shape for the next National Basketball League season opening in September and should be available to play for Gilas if he’s called to join the team at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia, in July.

Heading, 28, saw action for Strong Group Athletics (SGA) at the Dubai International Invitationals early this year, averaging 11.1 points in eight games. He hit a team-high 19 points in SGA’s 91-89 win over Al Ahli Tripoli. The 6-2 guard made his debut on the Philippine squad at the 2011 FIBA Asia U16 Championships where his teammates included Andrei Caracut, Prince Rivero and Isaac Go. He also saw action for Gilas at the 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia, FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers and FIBA World Cup 2023 Asia qualifiers. In Serbia, Heading averaged 14.5 points and teammates included Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo and Dwight Ramos (who didn’t play due to injury). He was named to Gilas’ 21-man pool for the FIBA World Cup last year but couldn’t report for duty because of a nagging back problem.

Heading, who was born in Adelaide, is eligible to play for Gilas as a local since he was issued a Philippine passport before turning 16. His father Tim is Australian and mother Sally, a Filipina. 

“I had a contract to go back to Japan but it fell apart due to visa issues so I’ll stay in Adelaide and play in the NBL,” said Heading who has played as an import in Taiwan and the B-League. “My wife and I have some personal things we need to stay local for.” But if there’s a call to play for Gilas, Heading said he’ll be ready. “It would be hard for me to refuse a Gilas call,” he noted. “I haven’t heard from them though.”

Heading said he watched Gilas blow out Hong Kong and Chinese-Taipei in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window on the internet. “I really like Coach Tim (Cone) and the way he approaches the game so it would be a fun time,” he continued. “The guys looked amazing out there this past window so I’m not sure if they will need my help.”

Cone is sticking to his 12-man Gilas lineup at the moment. If there are injuries or conflicts with schedules, Cone could bring in relievers as he did with Japeth Aguilar to sub for AJ Edu in the recent window. Team manager Richard del Rosario said he’s impressed with Heading’s game and he’ll bring up his name to Cone if there’s an opportunity. Del Rosario said SBP had a recent meeting with stakeholders who promised to adjust their league schedules to free up players for Gilas, leaving no room for conflicts.

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