World-class streetballers ready to put on one-of-a-kind show in Global Hoops 2016
Members of Team Philippines, China and the US pose for posterity at the Tenement Court in Taguig City. Rhoel Fernandez

SOME of the best streetballers from the US, China and the Philippines will try to outdo each other on the court and put on an extraordinary show for the Global Hoops event.

And judging by what they showcased at the Tenement Court in Taguig on Thursday, the cagers are definitely going to treat the fans at the Mall of Asia Arena with a one-of-a-kind game.

Members of the media and the residents of the community were treated with dribbling artistry, air-up-there dunks and the free-wheeling ball handling of players from the three countries.

Jimmy Alapag, who will coach Team Philippines, said the event is going to be great for basketball in the country as well as a great night for music with the presence of local hip-hop and rap artists that include Gloc 9 and Andrew E.  

“Streetball takes you back to the roots of the game of basketball, playing on the blacktop and doing it outside. Anybody who’s played basketball, that’s how you start as a young kid at school on the playground,” said the Meralco guard and former Gilas skipper.

“It’s just great that even with the game becoming so global nowadays, [we have] an opportunity like this especially in our country. Kids, [especially] those in the provincial areas, [have] the opportunity to showcase their talents. Who knows? It can be a stepping stone for them,” he added.

Terrence Lang, VP for Operations of organizer Team Bally, said the squad from China is composed of some of the best streetballers there. The Americans will be represented by the Court Kingz, bannered by noted streetballer Hot Sauce, and are world-renowned especially to the younger fans who catch their hardwood displays online.

Their Pinoy counterparts will be led by Lil’ Flash, Nino Ventura, backed up by pro ballers that include Jimmy Alapag, Jeron Teng, Willie Miller.

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What makes the game more entertaining, according to Lang, is that streetball rules are more lenient compared to regular games,

“It’s not that technical. Medyo freestyle siya. Traveling calls, hindi talaga tinatawag. More for fun. Puro flashy moves na hindi mo makikita sa basketball game,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Alapag, Chinese baller More Free and Hot Sauce had their hand prints and signatures imprinted on wet cement that would be displayed alongside LeBron James' imprints on the court, which bears a strong resemblance to the neighborhood courts in many US cities.

Several teams also displayed their basketball skills on 3-on-3 games. And before they left the court, several team members wowed the crowd with boomerang dribbles, alley-oop dunks and trick shots. 

“Street ball doesn’t start with us. It starts when you see everybody playing. It’s not for the cameras. It’s not for entertainment. You play with your friends. You’re doing your own thing. It’s not at a professional level that streetball starts. It starts when you’re 5,6,7 years old and that’s what makes it unique,” said Court Kingz member Megatron.

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