Monday, July 11, 2011

3-on-3 Ballin' 7.1-3.2011

Jr. NBA alumni, including pioneer batch (2007) MVP Kiefer Ravena (fifth from right) together with his brother who made it to the latest batch (2011) Thirdy (fourth from right) had some basketball fun with NBA Legend Horace Grant at the NBA 3-on-3 Philippines 2011 presented by Sprite. (From left) – Dawn Ochea (2011), Kobe Paras (2011), Jared Lim (2011), Hubert Cani (2010), Alfred Sajulga (2011), Tsaddy Tabaldo (2011), Kiefer, Thirdy, Lorenzo Navarro (2011), Patrick Go (2010) and Thristan Laman (2010).
(Photo courtesy of NBA Philippines)

The NBA lockout may have inevitably taken it's course but here in the Philippines though, the most globally popular hoops league's season never end -- sort of. Before all that, the NBA Finals happened -- which lead to the Dallas Mavericks winning their first title -- and NBA Asia announced that the Philippines would hold it's inaugural NBA 3 on 3 in cooperation with Sprite. That somehow gave Filipinos another reason to get into playing basketball. Plus, 4-time NBA champion and Legend Horace Grant was thrilled to visit the country.

Nice Graffiti.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

Just recently, the much anticipated NBA 3-on-3 Philippines 2011 happened from July 1-3 -- three long days of basketball fun and excitement provided by the New York Knicks City Dancers, of course. Heck, their manager extraordinaire and former Knicks City Dancer Michelle Harris is actually Filipina. Who'da thunk that? That's Filipino pride indeed. No wonder the Knicks dance team are THAT DAMN GOOD. The Energen Pilipinas under-16 team graced the event along with their coach and PBA Legend Olsen Racela, by the way.

I got four on it.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

Going back to Mr. Grant, the NBA Legend didn't hesitate in showing off his gold bling-blings for all to see -- four of them actually. He won 3 with the Bulls and 1 with the Lakers. No doubt, he came to the Philippines with one goal: preach the gospel of basketball -- and he didn't disappoint.

Gold Blingin'!
(Photo by Roy Afable

Lucky for him though, for a country that lives and breathes basketball that wouldn't much of a problem. To those, that went to check out the or better yet, participate in the 3-on-3 competition Horace Grant was impressed with the young talents here. Not only that, he felt the love from the Filipino people. At the meet and greet sessions with the NBA Legend, there was no hesitation whatsoever when he signed autographs for his fans that lined-up. He'd readily smile if there's someone that wanted to have a photo-op with him. Dude is one classy guy indeed.

The New York Knicks City Dancers with Filipina Manager Michelle Harris.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

The dunk contest in the second day though, he and the Knicks City Dancers had a lot of fun with that. While not a lot Filipinos are gifted with leaping ability or the height, the organizers made an exception -- they lowered the standard 10-foot rim down to 9. Only a handful of guys made the cut to join that particular contest -- unless you're a Nate Robinson that's got insane hops.

Top: The Pilipinas Under-16 team with the executives of Energen.
Below: Inaugural toss with NBA Legend Horace Grant.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

While the others were on the other side of Manila watching the Philippine Azkals play the Sri Lanka Brave Reds at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on the last day of the event. Hoop heads braved the weather just to give some love for the teams that made the Finals. No rain can stop any baller that wants to win the top prize.

(Photo by Roy Afable)

The 13-and-under category was perhaps the most fun to watch since the first day of the even. The Fighting Irish team of Notre Dame School of Greater Manila dominated their division. Their 4'7" tall point guard Juan Carlo Garcia -- An alumnus of the Jr. NBA -- broke some ankles and killed the competition. The kid's got mad handles and scoring from all over the place. He ain't just good, he's Jr. NBA good. No wonder Horace Grant was so damn impressed of this young blood. He could be the next Keifer Ravena in the making. UAAP/NCAA schools better keep an eye out for this kid.

Top: Participants having instant cereal drink from the Energen Booth.
Bottom: The Sprite Booth keeping everybody refreshed.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

Basketball may be a guy's sport but let's not forget that gals can play the game just as good. That's the reason why the event opened up a women's category. And yes, the NBA cares about the ladies as well. Obviously, these femme fatales got everybody's attention. The CSB (College of Saint Benilde) Blazers won their division and defeated the Lady Fighting Maroons at 15-6. Quite a dominant performance indeed.

Playing some mini arcade ball.
(Photo by Roy Afable)

After 3 days of hoops action and fun, everybody was the winner. The inaugural NBA 3-on-3 Philippines 2011 was truly a success. Horace Grant and the New York Knicks had an absolute blast while they were in town. Michelle Harris got back to her roots. She gotta thank NBA Asia for that.

A gathering of champions from all divisions of the NBA 3-on-3 Philippines 2011 presented by Sprite less the 15-and-under division winner Sacred Heart Academy - Ateneo de Cebu who had an early flight back to Cebu.
(Photo courtesy of NBA Philippines)

Big ups to NBA Asia, Energen and Sprite for putting up this event.

Next year's NBA 3-on-3 should be something to look forward to.

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