Pacers, Rockets to get down to business on Thursday-A A +A
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
MANILA -- Filipino basketball fans shouldn't just expect an exhibition match between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
Both teams will go out fighting even if it is only a pre-season game.
"We're just looking for ways to get better, and we're all a bit exhausted and fatigued from the travel. But once the ball goes up tomorrow night (Thursday), we'll be ready to play," said Rockets player Chandler Parsons.
This is the first time for a Southeast Asian nation to host an NBA game as Parsons relished the idea of finally seeing screaming Filipino fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. "We want to put on a show for them," he said.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale expects Thursday's game to be electric, thanks to the public who are "really into this."
The Rockets will bank on Parsons, NBA All Star James Harden, Asian sensation Jeremy Lin and latest acquisition Dwight Howard, whose transfer from the Los Angeles Lakers drew a lot of attention. Howard, the superstar center, won the Defensive Player of the Year thrice.
The Pacers, meanwhile, will lean on Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George, the 2013 Most Improved Player.
"It feels great to come out here and play in a different culture and be embraced. Everybody in the Philippines really loves the NBA and we want to go out there and put on a competitive show," said Hibbert, whose team bested the Rockets in their last three regular season meetings.
The Rockets and the Pacers have yet to taste a win this pre-season. Houston bowed to New Orleans Pelicans, 115-116, while Indiana succumbed to the Chicago Bulls, 76-82, last week.
Some 16,000 fans are expected to fill the MOA Arena as the venue’s management expressed readiness for the big event.
MOA Arena business unit head Arnel Gonzales said 50 security personnel are on standby and will be deployed inside and outside the arena. Ticket prices range from P550 to P32,300.
"We've sold a pretty good number of seats. We're sold out at the upper sections. There are limited seats available (for the P32,300)," Gonzales told Sun.Star.
Gates will open at 4 p.m., three hours before the tip off.
"We are just hoping that it's going to be more than one game," said Gonzales. (Sunnex)