BASKETBALL fever is expected to hit fever pitch as NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, veteran Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and incoming rookie Nick Johnson will be reinforcing the NBA all-stars in their tune-up game against Gilas Pilipinas dubbed the “PLDT Last Home Stand.”
Leonard, one of the San Antonio Spurs’ fast-rising stars, is expected to bring in his high-energy plays to an NBA All-Star cast that already includes former slamdunk champion Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets veteran forward Paul Pierce and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Top Gilas patron and PLDT big boss Manny V. Pangilinan made the announcement on his Twitter account @iamMVP.
“Excited to greet the 1st of July w news that Nick Johnson, Kyle Lowry, & FINALS MVP Kawhi Leonard joining us for PLDT's #GilasLastHOMEStand,” Pangilinan wrote.
The 6-foot-7 Leonard averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while scorching the Miami Heat with his 57.9 percent shooting average from the three-point zone.
The benefit game against the NBA stars will serve as Gilas’ final tune-up matches at home before competing in the Fiba World Cup in Spain beginning on August 30.
Gilas is set to resume training on Tuesday night in preparation for two big international competitions — the Fiba World Cup in Spain from August 30 to September 14 and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4.
Gilas is set to leave on July 9 to play in the weeklong Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, where the Filipinos will try to improve on their fourth-place finish in the 2012 edition.