Chris Newsome (right) shares a light moment with fans during the PBA 2023 All-Star Game. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

Chris Newsome (right) shares a light moment with fans during the PBA 2023 All-Star Game. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

Chris Newsome cut a picture of gratitude as the din of the celebrations of the All-Star Game at City of Passi Arena died down.

Even when the rest of Team Japeth was already inside its dugout, the Meralco ace stayed on the City of Passi Arena’s floor, patiently taking selfies with fans, signing basketballs and jerseys, and giving out video greetings.

“All for them,” he told the Inquirer with a childish grin. “We had a lot of fun out there.”

It was the least the 32-year-old could do, considering how big the season has been for him.

For someone crowned top rookie seven years ago and who, in August last year, got his first Gilas Pilipinas callup, it’s a surprise that Newsome was playing his first All-Star Game last Sunday in Iloilo province. Less a surprise was how he fit right in with the league’s old and new stars, helping Team Japeth past Team Scottie, 140-136.

“It’s been an amazing year. But I think this is all a testament to everything I’ve been doing: Putting in hours to just try and improve my game every single day,” he said.

“Getting a lot of accolades, that’s not necessarily something that I’m going for,” he added. “I just wanted to be known as a really good basketball player. And that I give my best every single game. That I work hard.”

Newsome wound up with 16 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a performance that he hopes would inspire youngsters.

“There are a lot of kids out there who may not get the attention that they deserve,” he said. “But you know, just keep working hard, and good things will happen to you.”


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