PLAYERS of De La Salle and University of Santo Tomas have opted to skip the NBA preseason game featuring the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers as they prepare for their winner-take-all encounter this Saturday for the UAAP men’s basketball championship.
The first-ever NBA preseason game to be held in the country is set on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena, or two days before the Tigers and Green Archers tangle in the deciding Game Three of their title series.
Coaches of both teams said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum they’re not inclined to witness the one-of-a-kind ballgame as they chose to focus on the big game ahead.
La Salle coach Juno Sauler recalled a similar incident when the Archers were invited to watch superstar LeBron James at the Mall of Asia Arena last July during his maiden visit to the country, but instead chose to concentrate on a UAAP regular season game.
“I remember when LeBron James came here, we were invited to go to the event but we have to prioritize our practice. So we didn’t (go),” said Sauler
UST coach Pido Jarencio shared the same sentiment.
“Naka-dorm kasi ‘yung mga players. Sama-sama kaming lahat doon kahit practice sa umaga at sa hapon. Sobrang wala na silang time pumunta doon,” said Jarencio.
The UST coach then jokingly said he won’t even make it to a cockfighting derby as he has his hands full trying to prepare the Tigers for Saturday's game.
“Ako nga may sabong ako nung araw na ‘yun, pero hindi na ako pupunta,” said Jarencio, a noted gamecock owner.
Jarencio also said the players might end up emulating the fancy moves of the NBA players if they choose to watch the historic preseason game.
“Baka mamaya kung ano-ano gawin nila, gayahin nila si (James) Harden, nagkahirapan pa tayo,” he said in jest.