|Gary Payton at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel on August 24, 2010. Photo by Dennis Gaviola, abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Former NBA cagers and current NBA Development League (D-League) players are not sure about what to expect when they play alongside Filipinos in the NBA Asia Challenge 2010.
But they are surely on the lookout for Allan “The Triggerman” Caidic as well as other PBA Legends.
“It’s a perfect and great opportunity to play alongside them,” Glen Rice said during the press conference on Tuesday. “I’m very honored.”
Being a distinguished shooter as well, Rice said that he and Caidic will definitely dish out hard court treats at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
“You’re gonna see a lot of fireworks,” he assured.
Joining Rice in the NBA Asia Challenge are fellow legends Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber and Gary Payton.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Raymond said of the exhibition event. “People [in the Philippines] have been very nice.”
PBA import returns
Save for one of them, the NBA D-League players will share the court with Filipinos for the first time. They are Chris McCray, Mark Tyndale and Darnell Lazare.
The exception is Richie Frahm, who played in the PBA in 2002 as import for Talk ‘N Text.
“The Philippines is where I started my professional career,” said the 33-year-old.
He added that he told his fellow Americans that “There is a lot of passion [for basketball] here. You can expect a good game.”
Tyndale, meantime, remarked about the Filipinos, “Let’s see if they live up to their nicknames.”
|Chris Webber in Manila. Photo by Dennis Gaviola, abs-cbnNEWS.com
First NBA-PBA mix
Caidic, however, was not around during the press conference at Fiesta San Miguel in Dusit Thani Manila Hotel.
Another PBA legend, Ronnie “Point Laureate” Magsanoc, was present to speak on behalf of the PBA legends roster which also includes Alvin “The Captain” Patrimonio, Benjie “The Tower of Power,” Paras, Vergel “The Aerial Voyager” Meneses and Atoy “Fortune Cookie” Co.
“Whatever Gary Payton will do to me, I will welcome,” Magsanoc said.
At the sidelines of the media briefing, Magsanoc shared with his thoughts on the NBA event with abs-cbnNEWS.com.
“I feel very exited and privileged,” he said. “Puwede na magpa-picture,” he kidded.
Magsanoc noted that it is a first to have a set-up wherein PBA and NBA players will play with and against each other. Last year’s NBA Asia Challenge pitted the NBA versus the PBA.
The Red Team is composed of Payton, Rice, Lazare, McCray, Caidic, Meneses, Co, Asi Taulava, LA Tenorio and Arwind Santos. Alaska Aces mentor Tim Cone will be at the helm.
Siot Tanquincen of San Miguel Beer will coach the White Team members: Webber, Richmond, Tyndale, Frahm, Magsanoc, Paras, Patrimonio, Rico Maierhofer, Dondon Hontiveros and Ronald Tubid.
Magsanoc also told abs-cbnNEWS.com that the NBA Asia Challenge showcases the partnership between the PBA and NBA.
“We are thrilled to be back in the Philippines,” said Scott Levy, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NBA Asia. “It’s been a great year for the NBA in the Philippines.”
Levy cited the Junior NBA as well as the NBA FIT Program which brought Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the Miami Heat, to the country early this month.
“The PBA has been a great partner for us,” added Levy.
Acting PBA Commissioner Chito Salud stated that the league is “extremely proud and privileged” to have a partnership with the NBA.
“Filipinos will give their best, will give their all on Friday,” he guaranteed. “You have a basketball-crazy nation and extremely talented Filipino players.” – Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com