TWO-time PBA MVP Willie Miller is set to begin his quest against the world’s top 32 streetballers from 20 countries in the 'King of the Rock' world finals in Serbia this September 17.
Miller departed for Belgrade on Tuesday as the first Philippine representative in the largest one-on-one street basketball competition in the world. He steps in to replace Filipino-American Robbie Herndon, who bested the nine-time PBA All Star in the national finals last March but stepped down to focus on the 2016 PBA Draft.
But Miller, who had a stellar 14-year PBA career, will have tough competition in Serbia. Defending champion Kivanc Dinler, who beat 2011 and 2012 champ Hugh ‘Baby Shaq’ Jones from the US last year to win back-to-back titles, eyes a three-peat.
Besides Serbia and Turkey, finalists from Lithuania, Argentina, Russia, Montenegro, Estonia, Poland, Angola, South Africa, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Georgia and Lebanon are vying in the tournament.
This year’s 'Red Bull King of the Rock' World Finals will take place at the Mali Kalemegdan venue in Serbia's capital. After 64 qualifying tournaments held on four continents, the one-on-one street basketball season will come to an end at the historical BC Red Star court, where basketball in Serbia was born.
Iconic locations are a trademark of the street basketball culture. After the Alcatraz prison, the Samasana Island and the rooftop of the Beykoz Leather and Shoe Factory in Istanbul, this year’s venue will bring the Serbian spirit to the event. And with 2,500 spectators attending the last national Red Bull King of the Rock at Mali Kalemegdan, there's no doubt about the popularity of the game in the country.
Players will battle head-to-head in a raw, outdoor basketball, using a single-elimination format. Games last five minutes and are subject to regulation hoops rules and scoring (two and three pointers). Players have to be tough and play smartly – five fouls equals an automatic loss. After each game, the winner faces the next opponent.
Follow Miller's campaign in the King of the Rock world finals at win.gs/KOTRPHILIPPINES.