AFTER the rest shouted “Laban Pilipinas,” Steph Curry chanted Gilas Pilipinas’ battle cry “puso” to the delight of the adoring crowd at the packed Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
The NBA superstar, standing 6’3” - still short by league standards - reminded height-challenged Filipino basketball aspirants to have the intangible quality of heart to excel in the land of giants.
“Pooh-sow,” Curry exclaimed after co-host Andre Felix taught him the Tagalog word for heart.
“You can’t measure heart. You can’t measure this,” he added, pumping his fist on his chest.
Hard work was likewise a major factor in the rise of the Golden State Warriors point guard to becoming league MVP and NBA champion.
“When there are days when you just want to stay home and watch TV, go to the gym,” he said. “Work hard and focus on your goals.”
Apart from all those qualities, Curry also had hops, which he showed by going for a two-handed reverse slam that sent the audience into frenzy.
Greeted with chants of M-V-P, Curry likewise dazzled the crowd with his outside shooting and dribbling wearing his new signature Under Armour shoe Curry Two, which will go on sale on Monday.
The sweet-shooting Curry seemed to have an off-day - by his standards - as he finished with just 13 points in the three-point shootout, although still good enough to win the contest as finals opponent Marco Sario of La Salle Zobel could only muster 11 in the finale.
“I thought he had a chance, but I’m glad to take home the belt,” Curry said with a smile.
The scrimmage, though, was the highlight of the Under Armour Road Show Manila as select high school players joined Curry in a 5-on-5 game.
“This is what I came here for,” said the son of former NBA player Dell Curry.
Curry’s Black team went down early when he teamed up with four girls, before four boys replaced them and came back to win, 34-28.
The approachable Curry, who obliged to autograph requests from fans in between activities, capped off his one-day appearance by giving away basketballs and shirts to the crowd.
“This is my first time in the Philippines and this won’t be my last,” the American cager said.