Ex-NBA vet starts countdown to NBA preseason game in PH

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Visiting American basketball player Sam Perkins, a former member of the Indiana Pacers, flashes the thumbs up sign during a news conference Tuesday, July 2, 2013 to launch the 100 Days countdown to promote the upcoming preseason NBA games between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets in Manila, Philippines. The NBA Global Games will see eight NBA teams playing in six countries as the Philippines, China, Brazil, Spain, England and Taiwan. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The first ever NBA preseason game between the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers to be staged here is just 100 days away.

NBA country manager Carlo Singson along with former Indiana Pacers big man Sam Perkins officially started the “100-day countdown” to the historic event at the Mall of Asia Arena in a press conference Tuesday.

“We are very happy that we’re just 100 days away. We are all very excited,” said Singson.

“In behalf of the NBA we are privileged to be here for the 100-day countdown for the NBA Global Games. I’m excited to be here. I’m thrilled. Basketball is very popular and it’s ever growing everyday,” said the six-foot-nine Perkins, who arrived Monday night to promote the upcoming game happening this October 10.

The NBA Global Games will feature eight teams, which also includes the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards, in eight cities in six countries such as Brazil, which will also hold its first game.

Games will also be played in Beijing, Shanghai, Istanbul, Bilbao (in Spain), Taipei and Manchester.

“When we started, the NBA is just concentrated in Europe… we found out that we have more fans all over the world. We look forward to it, I look forward to it. The game is growing so much and you cannot stop with just the Philippines. The 100-day countdown has officially started,” said the 1984 Olympic gold medalist Perkins, who played 18 seasons in the NBA with four different teams before retiring as a member of the Pacers in 2001.

Aside from the actual game, the NBA had already announced the NBA 3X this July with Rockets’ main man James Harden and the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly Hornets) guard Eric Gordon headlining the event before NBA Fit, which had two-time champion coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat last year, comes back in September.

Singson added that “Sam (Perkins) won’t be the last NBA legend to come here. We’re hoping to bring one or two more.”

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