MANILA, Philippines — In his second visit to the Philippines, Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez remains amazed as ever at the passion that Filipino fans have for the sport of basketball.
Lopez first visited the Philippines in 2012 for NBA 3X, and returned on Monday to grace the official launch of NBA Philippines’ partnership with insurance company AXA.
“Coming out here the last time and seeing the passion that the Filipino fanbase has for basketball in general was overwhelming and amazing to me,” Lopez said in a brief press conference.
The 7-foot Lopez, who is now the leading scorer in the Nets’ franchise history, was aware of the Philippines’ love for basketball, thanks to a Filipino-American high school teammate. But even so, he was not prepared for the passion displayed by the Filipinos.
“Traveling around the country and seeing players in sandals or barefoot — it shows to me the true passion and love for the game,” he said.
This passion and love for basketball bodes well for the Filipinos’ future in the sport, said Lopez.
“They just have to keep competing with each other and working to make their dreams come true,” he said.
Lopez, in particular, cited the case of Filipino prodigy Kobe Paras, who took a chance by moving to the United States. Paras suited up last year for Creighton before transferring to Cal State Northridge this year.
“It’s great to see guys like Kobe, playing in America. He’s being a great role model for younger players here,” he said.
“I’m confident the (Philippine) team will be competitive in the FIBA (tournaments), and they’ll make it to the Olympics,” Lopez further predicted.
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