Pacers star Paul George only has fond memories of first visit to Manila: 'It was amazing'
Paul George says he saw for himself how passionate Filipinos are about basketball during the Pacers' preseason game against the Rockets in 2013. Dante Peralta

PAUL George fondly recalls his first visit to the Philippines, when he saw for himself how passionate Filipinos are about basketball.

The Indiana Pacers star is currently in Manila for the second time to act as guest coach of the Nike Rise reality talent search where 24 players will be trained to reach their full potential.

But George’s first visit was also a memorable one when the Indiana Pacers went to the Philippines to face the Houston Rockets in a historic preseason NBA game in 2013.

“My first trip was amazing. When we got here, the fans were lined up at the airport waiting for us, to greet us. That’s where I knew they are serious about basketball,” said George.

[See NBA star tells Nike Rise aspirants: 'Nothing is impossible']

The Pacers lost the game, 116-96, but George knew prior to the game the significance of the match to Filipinos.

“We knew immediately, we have to put a show for the fans,” he added.

George’s second trip, however, is different since the NBA star has more time to see Manila as well as help the kids through his visit at Tenement in Taguig City and his involvement in the Nike Rise program.

“It wasn’t much that we can do for a short period. It’s nothing like this trip. I’m here for a couple of days, got a chance to see the city, interact with the kids, and making an impact,” said George.

[See George impressed by Pinoy streetballer as he makes second visit to Manila]

See video of interview with Paul George:

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