SEVEN years have passed since that exhibition game in the Philippines, yet NBA legend Glen Rice admits he's fascinated to this day by a memorable performance from PBA counterpart Allan Caidic.
Rice and fellow NBA greats Chris Webber, Gary Payton and Mitch Ritchmond visited the Philippines back in August of 2010 for the NBA Asia Challenge - an exhibition game that saw they play with and against selected PBA stars, both active and retired.
One memory sticks out for Rice.
“I remember my guy, Trigger (Caidic’s moniker Triggerman), who went out there, hit about 14 three-pointers and it was unbelievable,” said Rice smiling during an exclusive interview with SPIN.ph facilitated by Globe Telecom and Republika ng TM.
“He was on my team, fortunately, to be able to see him shoot the ball, the way he did. God, I had a brand new respect for that,” he said. “I am a shooter and shooters, we all stick together so if he is out there, I’d like to say hello to him.”
Asked if Filipinos with the skillset of Caidic have the potential to hit it big in the international circuit like the NBA, Rice sounded optimistic.
“Absolutely, the way the game is growing now and the way it has changed, anything is possible for anybody to fulfill their dream as far as playing in the NBA. They just gotta keep working hard,” he said.
Rice believes the Philippines already has the love and passion for basketball that is unmatched anywhere in the world.
“I think it’s unbelievable. They’ve given themselves a grand opportunity as far as basketball, it’s a game that they love, it’s a game that they participate in a lot. I’ve been to a number of places across the world and to be able to see how involved they are here is just unbelievable,” said the three-time NBA All Star.
“In a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a ten, because they are just unbelievable. Their dedication that they give to the game, not only as a fan, even if you see the players playing, you an see that as well,” he added.
Rice is in a week-long visit as part of the NBA celebration of Filipino Heritage Week, where he hopes to learn more about the country's culture, and not just basketball.
See video of interview:
Asked if he will try the country’s notorious energy food balut, Rice burst into laughter.
“I’ve heard about it but I don’t think I am already ready for it. But I will take a look at it, why not?” he said laughing while clowning around with fans at the Globe Iconic Store at The Fort in Taguig.
Rice is also amazed how technology has enabled popular celebrities like NBA stars and entertainers to stay in touch with fans through social media.
“I think it’s awesome, I think it gives the players opportunity to relate to fans and bring them closer to them. It’s fantastic,” he said while revealing to being a fan of Netflix, Twitter and Instagram apps.
The existence of digital media like sports websites is another plus for the fans, according to Rice, as information is now easily accessible.
“When you’re following players, they change teams so often, to be able to gather up new information, that’s another way to keep you informed,” he said.
“Take for example you guys here (in the Philippines), you got like five million plus (surfers), it gives us an opportunity to relate to that many more people versus if we didn’t have,” said Rice, who will conduct a basketball clinic with Ginebra star LA Tenorio on Friday morning at the Globe Tower in The Fort.