Part Filipino ABL import embraces latest chapter of career

Home > Sports

From the ABL Facebook page

HO CHI MINH – After completing his ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) stint with Vietnamese club Saigon Heat, Evan Gilyard is ready to begin the next chapter of his burgeoning professional career.

The Chicago native (5-ft-10) has signed with Nymburk, the Czech National League’s most successful team with 19 titles.

Gilyard never looked out of Illinois to play basketball and had the opportunity to see action for the Kansas City Roos, New Mexico State Aggies and University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners during a five-year college career before he briefly played for the Chicago Bulls’ G-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls.

Gilyard now has the opportunity to continue writing the pages of his basketball history in Europe.

“I just take it day by day, keep grinding, keep working, take my blessings as they come and I’m not too worried about the future, I’m just going to take it day by day and live life,” he said Gilyard to ABS-CBN Sports.

Gilyard’s foray into the Southeast Asian basketball scene began with his agent’s connection with Heat head coach Matt Van Pelt, who brought in left point guard for the 2023 ABL Invitational season.

“I was with the Windy City Bulls and we had a situation there and my agent spoke to Matt, we built a strong relationship and he brought me here,” Gilyard said.

He would put up dazzling numbers for the Heat, averaging 21 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists throughout his stint. In Game 2 of the best-of-three finals against Hong Kong Eastern, he also broke out with 41 points and equaled the ABL record for triples with 10.

Hong Kong would eventually claim the title with a 2-1 win in the series, but Gilyard made enough of an impression on the Asian basketball ecosystem to earn him another contract.

As the son of Aisha Gilyard Thompson and Evan Sr., Gilyard always played with added motivation. Not being the greatest athlete on hard court, Gilyard had to make up for it with his tenacity and tenacity.

“Growing up in Chicago is pretty tough; Going to school, going to town and all, it’s a lot of distraction,” he said in an interview with New Mexico State.

“Roads, drugs and everything so I have the support system that keeps me focused and on track with basketball. I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder just to prove everyone wrong, to prove that it means more to me than being 5-6, 5-7 back then.

Gilyard, who turns 25 in August, played high school basket at the established Simeon Career Academy, which produced NBA names like Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn and teammates Zach Norvell and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Coincidentally, Gilyard’s underdog background may also have been partially influenced by his Filipino background. The playmaker revealed he has Filipino heritage from his mother’s side, similar to the extent of former NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson.

While Gilyard admits he’s new to Filipino basketball culture, he is committed to his roots.

“Definitely embrace[being a part of the Filipinos]and take it day by day, whatever’s in it, whatever comes out of it, then I’ll just take it,” Gilyard said.

“I was raised by my aunts, my grandmother, I just took basketball so seriously and it kept me off the streets. My uncle, my father helped me stay in the gym. They trained me every day. It was a difficult situation, created for the fittest to survive.”

Many factors have contributed to who Gilyard currently is as a professional player. What’s important, says Gilyard, is that whatever the future holds for him, he remains willing to be the underdog, ready to take on the world.

“Everything goes through my head. At the end of the day I just want to play the game I love and use it to take care of my family and play everything right,” he said.



Read  The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon: Release Date, Cast, Latest News, and More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button