KEVIN Love has one message to Gilas Pilipinas ahead of its 2014 Fiba-World Cup stint: Enjoy the ride.
“Soak it in as much as possible,” the Minnesota Timberwolves said during a press conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on Friday night.
Love, in the country for the Master Gameface All-Star Basketball Challenge set on Saturday (7 p.m.) at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, suited up for the US in the 2010 edition of the World Cup in Istanbul.
Gilas Pilipinas is making its first stint in the quadrennial meet since hosting the event in 1978. It clinched a berth in the event following a runner-up finish in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship last year.
While the Filipinos will be up against the best basketball players in the world, the NBA star advised the players to just enjoy every moment.
While representing the country may entail a lot of pressure to the players, Love said playing for flag and country is a great experience they will surely never forget.
“I would just tell them to enjoy it and take it all in. It will be a great ride,” said Love.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group B with Argentina, Senegal, Puerto Rico, Greece, and Croatia.
Incidentally, Marc Pingris, a key member of Gilas Pilipinas, will lead one of the teams playing in the all-star exhibition game against the squad of former Gilas mainstay Chris Tiu of Rain or Shine.
“It’s a chance for you to have a lot of pride and take in the other countries, while at the same time, represent and give your country a great game. Go out there and have fun,” said Love.
The NBA star said basketball eventually is just a game regardless of what’s at stake.
“At the end of the day, we are putting the ball in the hoop and have fun with it,” Love said.
Love will participate in a three-point contest during the Master Game Face event which comes right after Game Two of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals between defending champion San Mig Coffee and Talk ‘N Text.
The exhibition game will be shown live on TV5.