IF everything goes on as planned, retired NBA great Tony Parker is due for a return visit in the country by next month.
Tony Parker in Philippines
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy disclosed the likely arrival of Parker to be with his French club team Asvel Lyon, which is set to play three exhibition matches here from August 28 to September 4.
Owner of 20 championships in the top-tied French Pro A League, Asvel Lyon is owned by the 40-year-old Parker, whose brother TJ coaches the ballclub.
Sy said Parker, who won four NBA championships as the starting guard of the San Antonio Spurs, coming over was among those discussed during the recent 75th anniversary commemoration of the French-Philippine diplomatic ties.
The special occasion held at the Ayala Museum was graced by Madame H.E. Michele Boccoz, the French ambassador to the Philippines, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs Jaime Victor Ledda, and Sy himself.
Blackwater is among the three teams Asvel Lyon will be playing against during the 10-day visit, along with Gilas Pilipinas and the Hong Kong team Bay Area Dragons.
If ever, this will be Parker’s second visit to the country after coming over with the French national team in 2016 and played in the FIBA Olympic Qualifier at the Mall of Asia Arena.
France, which played Gilas during the classification phase, topped the tournament to earn a berth in the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
Asvel is defitely no pushover, having won just recently their third French title in a row.
Among its players include naturalized player 7-foot-3 Youssoupha Fall, national player Antoine Diot, imports Marcos Knight and Chris Jones, and Kostas Antetokounmpo, brother of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Previously, the team had Victor Wembanyama in its roster, but the 7-foot-3 center, projected as the top overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft, opted out of his contract with the franchise and went on to sign a two-year deal with the Metropolitans 92.
“Hopefully, everything pushes through,” said Sy who just arrived from his trip in Nice, France.
The Blackwater owner also mentioned plans of Parker to establish his academy in Manila after launching his first back in 2019 in Lyon.
The academy’s goal is to pursue the practice of basketball or music after high school to study with adapted timetables and reduced classroom with a new campus.”