INDIANA Pacers star forward Paul George is set to reinforce an already star-studded NBA squad that will face the Gilas Pilipinas squad in two tune-up matches on July 22 and 23 dubbed the “PLDT Last Home Stand.”
The 6-foot-8 George, a two-time NBA All-Star, was welcomed by no less than PLDT big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, who is celebrating his birthday on Monday, on his Twitter account @iamMVP.
“What a nice bday surprise - We welcome All-Star Paul George back to Manila for #GilasLastHOMEStand - mapapaLABAN sina Gabe, Ping, Jeff dito,” Pangilinan wrote at his Twitter account, which has over 75,000 followers.
It would be the second Manila visit for the athletic Pacers forward, after playing in last year’s first-ever NBA Global Games Philippines preseason match between Indiana and the Houston Rockets.
George, the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player, averaged a career-best 21.7 points to go along with 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds last season where the Pacers fell to eventual NBA runner-up Miami Heat in the Easter Conference Finals, 4-1.
The 24-year-old George will be joining an NBA roster that includes former slamdunk champion Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, veteran forward Paul Pierce who just recently joined the Washington Wizards, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors’ forward DeMar D Rozan and playmaker Kyle Lowry, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and incoming rookie Nick Johnson.
The benefit games against the NBA stars will serve as Gilas’ final tune-up matches at home before competing in the Fiba World Cup in Spain beginning on August 30.
Gilas is currently playing in the Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China as part of its preparation for two big international competitions — the Fiba World Cup in Spain on Aug. 30-Sept. 14 as well as the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea from Sept. 19-Oct. 4.
The Philippines is returning in the Fiba world stage for the first time since 1978.