Alex Cabagnot can't wait for Monday.
That's because there's finally a chance for him to don the Philippine colors in a major international tournament after getting invited to the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the first time in his career.
The crafty guard was referring to the day the 14-man pool will hit the ground running at the Meralco Gym for the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Also invited to the Gilas pool were teammate Marcio Lassiter, Ginebra prized guard Scottie Thompson, Ian Sangalang of Magnolia, Blackwater gunner Allein Maliksi and Phoenix star Matthew Wright. Eight players from the Asian Games line up were likewise invited.
"Of course I'm going to practice. I'm so excited, I wish it was Monday already," said Cabagnot after dropping 23 points in the Beermen's 125-112 win over NLEX in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup on Saturday.
Cabagnot was almost at a loss for words in describing the feeling when he received the news from PBA commissioner Willie Marcial that he was invited to the pool from which interim coach Yeng Guiao, filling in for suspended national team mentor Chot Reyes, will assemble a team from that will hold its own against Asian powerhouse Iran and Qatar in the September window.
Gilas is scheduled to battle Iran in Tehran on September 13 before taking on Qatar behind closed doors at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on September 17.
Cabagnot is not getting any younger, but the 35-year-old playmaker has proven time and again he is among the best guards in the first play-for-pay league in Asia. He has been instrumental in San Miguel Beer's championship conquests the past few years. Gilas is hoping someone of his caliber, with players like Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo serving suspensions, can contribute to the cause.
It was a long overdue call-up. But Cabagnot is relishing the opportunity to represent the country.
"I'm very excited. I'm excited and humbled at the same time," he said. "Just to have the opportunity to be in the pool and serve my country and to help it any way possible... I don't have any words to describe it."