BROOK Lopez refers to the partnership between former Brooklyn Nets teammate Andray Blatche and Gilas Pilipinas as 'very compatible.'
He said their passion for the game is what makes both parties click.
“I know how much he loves the game. And I know how much the Filipino people love the game as well, so it's a natural partnership,” said Lopez, who is in the country for the second time to witness the multi-year marketing partnership forged between AXA, a leading global insurance provider, and NBA in the Philippines.
“It was great to see him as part of the Gilas team and it’s a great thing I love seeing him play for this country in that jersey.”
Lopez, a one-time All-Star who is now the all-time leading scorer in Nets’ history, played two seasons with Blatche at Brooklyn before the naturalized player opted out of his contract and took his act to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
It was around this same time when the 6-foot-11 Blatche also decided to accept the offer of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to become the naturalized player for Gilas and play in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.
The 29-year-old center, drafted in the first round (10th overall) by the Nets in 2008, has nothing but good words for the Gilas stalwart, who he describes as ‘an amazing talent.’
“He made things easier for me when we were on the floor together,” said Lopez. “And he’s such a great fun locker room guy. He brings a lot of energy, we call him ‘Dray Live,' that’s our guy. He’s just a great person to be around.”
While Blatche sought his fortunes overseas, Lopez decided to stay with the Nets and rose to become the face of the franchise.
“For us we’re a young team and we’re trying to build a strong foundation where we can improve rapidly and do it the right way,” he stressed.
“We just get into the gym and work in buying our trust in each other, continue to build our trust, and just continue to get better on the floor in a number of ways that we can improve our system,“ Lopez added.
The big man out of Stanford University later joined NBA Philippines managing director Carlo Singson and AXA Philippines president and CEO Rahul Hora to celebrate the partnership launch event.
As part of the joint venture, AXA Philippines will serve as the presenting partner of NBA 3x Philippines, a 3-on-3 tournament featuring men’s and women’s teams from all over the country and authentic NBA entertainment.
The insurance firm will also support the Jr. NBA Philippines, the league’s youth basketball program for boys and girls by providing travel insurance for participants embarking on an overseas NBA experience trip later this year.
“At AXA, we believe in assisting our clients in making the right financial decisions by offering innovative solutions, similar to how an NBA coach helps this team win games,” said Hora. “This partnership with the NBA highlights common principles between our companies – teamwork, integrity, courage, innovation, and now the foresight for our customers to power up their game plan, not just on the physical playing field, but also on the hard court that is life.”
“We are proud to welcome AXA, a global industry leader in financial planning solutions, to the NBA family,” Singson said for his part. “We look forward to integrating AXA into our marquee NBA events and platforms in the Philippines to creat fun and engaging experiences for our passionate fans.”