Filipinos treated to real NBA experience-A A +A
Friday, October 11, 2013
MANILA -- Asian sensation Jeremy Lin was a toast of basketball-crazy Filipino fans who endured the heavy rains on Thursday just to watch him and other visiting NBA players in action at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Lin logged 14 points and six rebounds for the Houston Rockets, who dumped the Indiana Pacers, 116-96. James Harden led the way with 21 points.
The Rockets got off to a strong start, blanking the Pacers, 12-0, in the first few minutes of the game. Lin was pulled off the bench but his charities helped the Rockets to break the game wide open, 97-83.
The Pacers never recovered.
“We wanted to get off to a good start defensively,” said Rockets coach Kevin McHale, adding Lin will likely start in their next game. The Pacers and the Rockets will square off in Taiwan, where Lin’s family came from, on Sunday.
Nearly 13,000 fans watched the pre-season match, the first in Southeast Asia. Aside from fun games, mascots and dancers from both squads also perked up the crowd.
Among those who showed up were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, television personality Gary Valenciano and actress KC Concepcion, who recently had dinner with Rockets swingman Chandler Parsons.
American brothers Ryan and Daniel Bucher flew all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana just to watch the clash.
"We love this country because you love basketball," Ryan said while Daniel added: "(Filipinos are the) best people in the world."
The Butcher brothers also shared their hardcourt battles against Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) veterans Bal David, Marlo Aquino and Alvin Patrimonio. “They were good and quick,” said Ryan.
Basketball remains to be the family sport for Romulo Eroy, Orlando Minoza and Jane Caceres, who brought her children in rooting for Pacers star Paul George.
"It's been a great experience. It was a fun game tonight (Thursday). I thought it was a good atmosphere. Fans were really excited and it had a nice vibe and a lot of energy in the arena,” said McHale. (Virgil Lopez/Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)