Kevin Love wants USA to face Gilas Pilipinas

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at Jun 20 2014 10:56 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2014 05:06 AM

Kevin Love to Gilas: Enjoy the World Cup experience

MANILA - Three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves advised the Philippine national basketball team to enjoy their experience in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, even as he expressed hope that the United States may get a chance to play against Gilas Pilipinas.

Love, a part of the US basketball team that won the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, will again suit up for the Stars and Stripes in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain later this year

"I'm actually looking forward to the FIBA World Cup, because I heard the Philippines has qualified," Love said during a press conference Friday. "Maybe the US will have a chance to play them."

The Philippine national team claimed a berth in the World Cup for the first time in decades after placing second in the FIBA Asia Championships last year.

Love, who is in town for the Master Game Face All-Star Challenge, said the upcoming World Cup will be a "great ride" for Gilas.

"Spain... is a spectacular place to be," he said, explaining that he had the chance to go to Madrid in 2010 for the world championships, and then to Barcelona in 2012 while preparing for the Olympics.

"Soak it all in as much as possible," he said. "It's a chance for you to... take on different countries while representing your own, and give your country a great name."

"Have fun. At the end of the day, we're putting a ball through the hoop, and let's enjoy it," he added.

Love, who conducted a basketball clinic at the Manila Boystown earlier Friday, was admittedly surprised to see how much Filipinos love basketball.

"I thought boxing was gonna be - because of Manny Pacquiao - that it would be the main sport, but it seems basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines," he said.

Love will participate in a three-point shootout during the halftime of the Master Game Face All-Star Challenge Saturday evening at the Araneta Coliseum. The game itself will feature a showdown between teams led by PBA stars Chris Tiu and Marc Pingris, with top players from the PBA, the NCAA, and the UAAP making up the line-ups.

Love was the fifth overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2008 NBA Rookie Draft, but he was immediately traded to the Timberwolves on draft night. A three-time NBA All-Star, Love has career averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.