When Ariel John “AJ” Edu talks about the benefits of exploring the world beyond the comfort zone, he does so from experience.
“There are a lot of things that are different … I feel like it’s a great experience, a learning curve to experiment with in terms of developing your game,” the former Batang Gilas standout told Inquirer’s SportsIQ.
Edu uprooted himself from the UK, where he grew up, in pursuit of the NBA dream. He currently plays for the University of Toledo in Ohio, a Division 1 program of the US National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“When I first came to the United States, there was a little culture shock,” said the 21-year-old Filipino-Nigerian. “I miss my family a little bit and things like that. But I feel like when time goes by, you just get used to it. “
“Sometimes it can be very difficult. I’ve been away from family and stuff, but I feel like this is what I had to do. My dream has always been to play basketball in the United States, so when the opportunity presented itself, there was no question, “added Edu.
That explains why Edu supports Filipino players looking to expand their horizons by playing abroad.
“An example is Jack (Danielle Animam) and Thirdy (Ravenna) going to different countries in Asia,” Edu said.
“It will be a great experience for them not only on the court but for them personally, just to experience a completely different culture,” he added.
Animam plays college basketball in Taiwan, while Ravenna shows off its wares in Japan’s B. League. Recently, some young Filipinos have followed suit, including Kobe Paras.
While the jury is still out on whether those players made the right decision, Edu said he was happy to have made his move.
“Personally, it’s been great for me to get out of the UK,” he said. “My dream is to play in the NBA one day. I feel like I’m in the right place to do that. “INQ
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