THE NBA Team Fibr All-Star team is expected to give Gilas Pilipinas a solid workout on Tuesday and Wednesday when they clash in the benefit games dubbed the 'PLDT Home: The Last HOME Stand' at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, one of the 12 players in the NBA Fibr All-Star team, vowed to put on a show against the national squad, which is using the friendlies as part of its build up for the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“We're here to put on a good show and give back to the community,” the nine-year NBA veteran guard said.
Houston Rockets star James Harden, now in his third visit in Manila, said he has a lot of respect for the national squad for its “team-first” approach to the game.
“They're (Gilas) more team-oriented. They move the ball well and they have great skill sets,” noted Harden, the left-handed Rockets star, who saw action in last year’s NBA preseason game in Manila that pitted Houston against the Indiana Pacers.
The 6-foot-5 Harden’s first Manila visit came in 2011 when he joined Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul in games against Gilas, then mentored by Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.
Also part of the NBA Fibr All-Star team are Los Angeles CLippers star forward Blake Griffin, San Antonio Spurs wingman Kawhi Leonard, Indiana Pacers’ Paul George, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons, Ed Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks and incoming Rockets rookie guard Nick Johnson.
Meantime, Gilas coach Chot Reyes welcomed the game against the NBA stars, saying the two matches will help Gilas players when they go up against the planet’s best players in the Fiba World Cup next month.
“These (benefit games) will give our players a chance to play against these (NBA) guys, because I know this experience will come in handy at the worlds,” said Reyes, whose team is coming off a bronze medal finish in the Fiba Asia Cup on Saturday in Wuhan, China.