Harden, Gordon impressed with young basketball talents at NBA 3X Philippines 2013 presented by Sprite

James Harden and Eric Gordon got a taste of Filipino streetball at its finest yesterday (July 28) at the Finals of NBA3X Philippines 2013 presented by Sprite at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Tent.

The ultimate competitions of the three-day three-on-three basketball tournament – which drew 60,000 fans over three days at the double venue — was moved to the PICC from the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall Sunday afternoon on account of the rain.

Little boys not quite five feet who were members of the RP Team Thirteen Under and wowed the NBA stars as they heaved shots from two-point country in the U13 division. The very young players of the RP Team were only good for a runner up finish, but their ease with the basketball impressed the NBA talents and the avid basketball crowd.

High 5’s for Eric Gordon

From the tipoff last Friday until Sunday, NBA players James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Eric Gordon of the New Orleans Pelicans graced the events and interacted with Pinoy basketball fans together with the Indiana Pacemates and Grizz, the mascot of the Memphis Grizzlies. Harden and Gordon signed giveaways and threw them to the crowd, getting squeals of delight from the basketball-loving Pinoys.

Games featuring media and entertainment celebrities kicked off the Sunday event at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, with SM MOA fans liking the basketball grit and savvy of stars they only see on TV. Team Alcaraz, made up of GMA players Marco Alcaraz, Ervic Vijandre, Jose Sarasola and Jack Corpuz ruled the Celebrity division.

The Women’s Under-16 division meanwhile was won by Team CAYS composed of Alexis Aguirre, Leezah Sorallo, Mae Ann Herradura and Jeivie Nama. The National University Lady Bulldogs quartet of Nica Villegas, Jack Danielle Animam, Ana Del Rosario and Kimberly Illut won the U18 division over the JASMS Patriots who failed to show up for the match. The Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws — Mary Angeli Cabochan, Allana May Lim, Marilourd Borja and Karen Columna — prevailed over Team Mickey, made up mostly of former UP Lady Maroons, in the Girls’ Open, 8-4.

The most exciting game in the Boys’ division was the U-13 Finals game won by Escuela de Sophia-1 composed of Saymond Male, Andrei Cariato, Nelle Suminig and Christopher Perio. Their match against RP Thirteen Under went into overtime, as the littlest RP Thirteen Under player connected on a long distance 2-pointer, sending James Harden to his feet due to the excitement.

James Harden gets up on his feet over the unbelievable shot in the U13 division finals between RP 13 Under and Escuela de Sophia-1.

In the Under-16 division, the triumvirate of former Jr. NBA standout Jan Gabriel Sobrevega, Peter John Rabor and Astrolave Vista of University of Saint La Salle Bacolod dominated the Conquerors, 18-13.

AMA JRS dominated CKSC Blazing Dragons in convincing fashion, 20-7. to take home the Under-18 division crown. The champion team is composed of Clark Quijano, Jayson David, Russel Fuentes and Michael Perez. Besides their prizes for winning the division, the group earned a slot in the Adidas D-Rose Tour series of events on September 15-16 including the D-Rose Tour 3-on-3  Grand Finals. The players will be given Adidas apparel and D-Rose footwear as part of their participation in the D-Rose Tour 3-on-3 Grand Finals.

The Men’s Open division finals meanwhile was played between amateur basketball players who were former teammates during their college days. The underdogs EGS Elite pulled a stunner on the favored Blackwater Elite, 21-18. EGS, composed of former NCAA players Rocky Acidre, Mark Doligon and Acidre’s younger brother Rutger, overcame Blackwater, the recently crowned champions of the 2013 PBA Developmental League Foundation Cup (D League) composed of Gio Ciriacruz, Robby Celiz, Bacon Austria and Louie Vigil.

NBA 3X 2013 Philippines presented by Sprite was also highlighted by an NBA Cares Activity for Special Olympic Athletes. Eric Gordon, Jr. NBA Head Coach Sefu Bernard and the Indiana Pacemates treated the kids to fun basketball games and drills. Jr. NBA All Stars Alumni dropped by and got the chance to meet Harden and Gordon up close and personal.

James Harden, The Pacemates, Grizz and NBA Country Manager to the Philippines, Carlo SIngson give perfect scores to a dunk contest participant.

Fan activities at the event like the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest; the Sprite Basketball Clinic; the KFC Bucket 3-point Shootout; the Phoenix Fast Feet Challenge and NBA Half Time enabled fans to join in the fun as well. The PBA’s Tower of Power and only Rookie-MVP Benjie Paras and becoming-just-as-illustrious son Kobe Paras dropped by and caused a happy commotion.

The Beard loves Pinoy fans.

A lucky division champion will win tickets to the 2013 NBA Global Games on October 10, featuring the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers in a preseason match at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The identity of the winning division champions will be announced later.

Coach Erik Spoelstra Press Conference


Last Thursday, August 2, 2012, I attended a  press conference at the Mariott Hotel, Resorts World Manila. Different group of media attended the press con and were given a chance to ask some questions to the Head Coach of Miami Heat.  As soon as Coach Eric entered the venue,  he greeted the crowd  “Mabuhay.”    He said that he was very excited to be back in the Philippines and it was his  fourth time to be back  as NBA ambassador.  He cited that he traveled with his trophy and just proud to share to the Filipinos the NBA victory.


When the media’s turn came to ask a question,  my very good friend Joy of  occasionsofjoy.com grabbed a chance to ask a few questions.  She asked how winning the NBA championship changed his life.  He said that nothing really changed and he added that he remains the same and stays humble but he still needs to work harder this time.  He mentioned that a bit change comes  in terms of  hiding identity when he is sometimes  out  in public by wearing a baseball cap,  but not the to the extent of wearing a fake mustache.

After the quick press con, Coach Erik immediately  left  while some media went out to get a way for a one-on-one interview.  I grabbed a chance to have a photo with TJ Manotoc  instead of Coach Erik,    news anchor and  sportscaster of ABS-CBN.   No doubt, he’s popular among women.  He’s not only handsome but  intelligent as well.

Coach Spoelstra will be in town for a week. You can catch him at different SM malls for other activities. Please check the website www.facebook.com/philsnba or www.facebook.com/GatoradePH  for more details.

Linking this entry to Color Connection.