SM Prime Holdings Inc. president Hans Sy admitted his group had no hand in the selection of the teams that will play a preseason game in Manila on October 10.
But having Asian-American star Jeremy Lin in the Manila game is a stroke of good luck, he added.
“Frankly, I had no hand in picking the teams. But I think they (NBA) did a lot of research and ... maybe during that survey, that’s (Rockets and Pacers) what came out because everyone wanted to see and meet Jeremy Lin," said Sy.
“And it would be exciting to see him (Lin) here,” said Sy.
Francesco Suarez, the vice president for business development and marketing partnerships of NBA Asia, believes bringing in Lin will have a profound impact on Filipino basketball fans because of his Asian affinity.
“Actually, they (Lin and other NBA players) are extremely excited to play here (Manila). This place lives in the folklore of NBA history with great and passionate fans,” Suarez added.
"And we’re very excited to have Jeremy Lin and James Harden, along with the Indiana Pacers here. These are two great teams that will play here."
Suarez promised that local fans will get a taste of the whole NBA atmosphere as the league will also be bringing over the mascots and cheer dancers of Houston and Indiana as well as other surprises.
“The teams, the management, the mascots, cheer dancers and the whole NBA experience will be here,” said Suarez. "It’s as if the whole NBA game will be transported here to the Mall of Asia.”
The Rockets-Pacers game in Manila is part of the comprehensive global schedule that will see eight NBA teams play in eight cities in six countries this October.
Also playing during that stretch are the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards.
“The Philippines is such a great story at the moment with the way the economy is booming and the way things are moving in this country,” Suarez said. “So we think the timing couldn’t have been better and greater to bring something like this big and show the country at such a positive light.”