NBA anticipates huge response in PH for Lakers-Heat finals

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2020 06:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino audiences have reacted very favorably to the restart of the NBA season, and the league expects this to continue for the highly anticipated finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.

Scott Levy, the managing director of NBA Asia, revealed Wednesday that the Philippines has registered the largest average audience for live games of the season restart among international markets, at least through the conference semifinals.

The Philippines also ranks second in NBA League Pass subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region, and fourth internationally. 

"That's not surprising given the passion that we see from our Filipino fans," Levy said.

Levy believes that this trend will hold for the finals, especially as it features two teams that have great following among the Filipinos. 

The Lakers are among the most popular teams in the country, and Filipinos have rallied behind the Heat's Filipino-American coach, Erik Spoelstra, for years. 

"But I'm confident that regardless of who showed up, it would be compelling to Filipino fans," Levy also said, as he touted the Filipino fans' knowledge of the game and of the league itself. 

"It's so much fun to engage with our fans in the Philippines. Because when we think about NBA Republika, for example, we think about the topics that we wanna talk about. We know we can go much deeper in the Philippines than we might in some other place," he explained. 

"We can talk about the seventh player on a roster, we can talk about the background of that player. CJ McCollum can talk about his wine, or his podcast, and we know our Filipino fans are gonna know that," he added. 

"We don't have to introduce that because they follow everything that's going on in the league."

To further build up the excitement for the NBA Finals, NBA Philippines has created some initiatives under the NBA Republika brand. On Wednesday night, Nikko Ramos and Boom Gonzales will host Portland guard CJ McCollum to discuss the match-up. 

"There's tremendous excitement coming up for the 2020 NBA Finals," said Levy. "We're really excited about the finals match-up and hopefully you are too."