Manila to host NBA pre-season game-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
MANILA -- American basketball sensation Jeremy Lin is coming to Manila this October.
In a press conference Tuesday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the pitting of Lin's Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers in a pre-season game on October 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
It will be the first pre-season match to be held in Southeast Asia as NBA officials took turns in expressing admiration for the league's fans in the Philippines.
"Our game in Manila is an exciting opportunity to connect with the passionate basketball fans in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia," said NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Details regarding the release and prices of tickets were not immediately available although SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans Sy promised to "thresh out" the matter in a couple of weeks.
Sy, who broached the plan with Stern in an NBA All Star Game in Orlando, Florida, last year, said he had no participation in the selection of teams.
"But I do believe they (NBA) they did some social networking or survey. That is where they decided to bring in these two teams. As they said, the Philippines is number two in terms of fan page and they did a lot of research. I would like to bring what the Filipinos or what the fans want," he told reporters.
The mall magnate also surmised that Lin's Asian roots and his meteoric rise in the NBA could be a factor for tapping the Rockets. "Everyone wants a glimpse of (Jeremy) Lin. That would be exciting," he said.
The 24-year-old Lin, who gained prominence as the league's first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, will be joined by NBA All-Star James Harden, the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Representing the Pacers are 2009 NBA Most Improved Player Danny Granger, and NBA All-Stars Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West.
The game is part of the NBA's comprehensive global games schedule that will have eight NBA teams play in eight cities in six countries this October.
The schedule – which will also feature the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, and Washington Wizards - will include the first-ever NBA preseason games to be held in Brazil, and in the cities of Bilbao, Spain and Manchester, England. It will also include games in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Istanbul, Turkey.
Last year, a team of NBA legends, such as, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman played against a bunch of retired players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), also at the MOA Arena.
Taking advantage of the lockout in mid-2011, businessman Manny Pangilinan brought current stars such as Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Harden in two exhibition matches before a sell-out crowd at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Scalpers at that time sold some seats for as high as P25,000 even as the published rates only ranged from P350 to P5,700. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)