FORMER NBA star Yao Ming and his Shanghai Sharks team are set for a six-day visit to the country next month to play a couple of exhibition games and conduct basketball clinics.
The now-retired Houston Rockets center, who owns the Sharks franchise seeing action in the Chinese Basketball Association, is expected to be the main attraction of the Philippines-China Friendship Games slated May 3 to 8.
The Sharks will play an exhibition game against the Gilas Pilipinas national team on May 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena, and then take on a PBA All-Star selection the following day (May 7) at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The game against Gilas Pilipinas serves as tune-up for the Nationals now preparing for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship to be held in the country this August.
A basketball clinic to be held on May 5 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and a tour of Manila in coordination with the Department of Tourism are also included in the Chinese’ itinerary.
Mall tours and press conferences will also be scheduled, while a courtesy call to President Aquino is now being arranged.
The week-long event is part of the memorandum of agreement between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and its Chinese counterpart calling for sports cooperation between the two countries.
“All parties are excited to come together and be able to spread goodwill and extend athletic know-how to the nation’s youth through the country’s most popular sport,” said PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy in a statement.