AN injury cut short his stint in the PBA back in 2012. Now, he’s ready for a short comeback.
DerMarr Johnson, a former Barako Bull Energy import, will be making his way back to Manila to play for charity in 'All In,' a fundraiser for the benefit of Gawad Kalinga and headlined by no less than former NBA MVP and 11-time All-Star Allen Iverson.
“I have very fond memories of the Philippines. I’m most looking forward to once again interacting with the fans, and seeing the friends I made there that I haven’t seen in a while,” said Johnson. “Filipino fans know basketball and they love basketball. All the people there treated me nice and made my time there really easy. Can’t wait to be back.”
Johnson and another former NBA star, Eddy Curry, will be reinforcing Team PCWorx – to be coached by two-time PBA grandslam coach Tim Cone made up of star players from the UAAP, led by reigning MVP Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo and La Salle’s Jeron Teng, and the NCAA.
They will be squaring off against Iverson’s Team Gawad Kalinga bannered by the Ball Up Streetball All-Stars and former PBA stalwarts Jerry Codinera, Willie Miller, and Renren Ritualo.
The game is set on November 5, 7 p.m., at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Johnson, the sixth overall pick of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2000 NBA Draft, said he hopes to help the young guys get a win over their rivals.
“Ball Up is a talented group. I’m just gonna go out there and play and hopefully help the younger players get the win,” said Johnson.
He was quick to remind Iverson and the opposing team not to be too complacent, though. Johnson vowed, that although he and the future Hall of Famer are good friends off the court, he’ll make sure they won’t have it easy come gametime.
“Allen is my brother and I’m looking forward to making the trip with him, but we have played against each other plenty of times over the years, and this time it won’t be any different. I’m going out there to get a win. The fans can expect us to put on a good show. The Ball Up guys always put on a good show, but me and the college guys are going out there and snatch a win,” Johnson warned.
“I hope all the fans that supported me during my time there will come out and support this cause. I appreciate all the love and I hope one day I can play in the league (PBA) again.”
Prior to the charity game, Iverson and Cone will hold a youth basketball clinic for those aged 10-15 at the Gawad Kalinga Bulaklakan Chapter in Bgy. Holy Spirit in Quezon City on November 4.
The event is backed by Philippine Airlines, NBA Café Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, PhilCare, Canon, Rapoo, Accel, and the Mall of Asia Arena. Tickets are still available online atwww.smtickets.com, all SM Tickets outlets, and select PCWorx branches in Metro Manila.