Taurian "Air Up There" Fontenette performs one of his trademark dunks. Handout photo.
MANILA, Philippines – Three members of the seven-man Ball Up Streetball All-Stars are eager to show off their skills in front of Filipino basketball fans during the "All In" charity basketball event in Manila this Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Taurian Fontenette, Larry Williams, and Ryan Williams, known all over the world for their slam dunks and dizzying handles, are already bound for Manila on board a Philippine Airlines flight.
The trio is part of the seven-man team that will be carrying Team Gawad Kalinga in a charity basketball event, which will be headlined by former NBA MVP and 11-time All-Star Allen Iverson.
They will be joined by former PBA stars Jerry Codinera, Willie Miller, and Renren Ritualo as they battle the UAAP-NCAA selection Team PCWorx, which will be reinforced by former NBA stars Eddy Curry and DerMarr Johnson.
The 6-foot-3 Fontenette, known to streetball fans as "Air Up There," popularized the widely documented 72-degree dunk, and is no stranger to how basketball-crazy Filipinos are. His knowledge about Philippine basketball came from his former college roommate, and now PBA star Joe DeVance.
"I'm just looking forward to being in the Philippines for the first time," Fontenette said. "Joe has told me so much about basketball in the country, and I can't wait to see it for myself and do what I love against global talent."
Larry Williams, the Rucker Park legend known as "Bone Collector," expressed his excitement in meeting his Filipino fans, whom he said makes up a large percentage of his social media followers.
"A lot of my fans have reached out to me on social media, and made me aware of how Filipinos love basketball," he said. "I can't wait to perform in Manila, especially for those who haven't seen me play in person yet."
Ryan Williams, on the other hand, said he admires the talent that Filipinos have in the game of basketball, as he regularly plays with Filipino-Americans in New York City where he was born and raised. He would also catch PBA highlights online from time to time.
"I play in a Filipino league in NYC, so I pretty much have an idea about the Philippines' brand of basketball," he said. "I also know how passionate the fans and the Filipino players play hard."
"That's my type of atmosphere," added Williams, nicknamed "Special FX" because of his innovative dunks.
Prior to the charity game, Iverson and Purefoods head coach Tim Cone will hold a youth basketball clinic for kids aged 10-15 at the Gawad Kalinga Bulaklakan Chapter in Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City on November 4.
Tickets to "All In" are still available, at 50% off, online at www.smtickets.com, all SM Tickets outlets, and select PCWorx branches in Metro Manila.
The event is backed by NBA Café Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, PhilCare, Canon, Rapoo, Accel, and the Mall of Asia Arena.