MANILA, Philippines—At least 600 players from across all ages are set to fight for top honors in the NBA 3X Philippines 2013, and no less than NBA standouts James Harden and Eric Gordon will be there to cheer them on.
Harden, the Houston Rockets’ go-to-guy last season, and Gordon, the New Orleans Pelicans’ guard, arrived in the country on Thursday for three full days of 3×3 basketball across seven age divisions.
Harden, who is no stranger to the Filipinos’ passion for hoops having visited here in the 2011 for a couple of exhibition games, is excited to make an impact to the young basketball lovers.
“I’m definitely excited [to be around kids]. I’m excited to be back here. To teach kids, to be around kids and feed off my positive energy towards kids,” Harden said in a group interview at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila.
“To impact people’s lives and make sure they’re on the right path just to be interacting with and going through drills with them, it should be an unbelievable week,” Harden also said.
There are the under 13, U-16, U-18 and open divisions (18-years-old and above) for men, and U16, U18 and open divisions for women.
Harden, along with Gordon who is a first timer here, are scheduled to grace the opening of the event, presented by Sprite, on Friday at the center court off the Mall of Asia music hall.
“The fan base out here is amazing. I never really know I had a fan base here until I came out here. I gave Eric an inside scoop.”
A secondary venue apart from MOA, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), has been tapped to accommodate the surplus of participants on the tournament’s third year.
“It gets bigger and better [each year]. We’re excited to be here again. NBA 3x is our global and lifestyle and basketball event,” said Carlo Singson, the league’s country manager.
Winners from each division will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win four tickets to the NBA Global Games on October 10 between Houston and Indiana at the MOA Arena.
The victors in the boys U18 division, meanwhile, will be given slots to participate in the Adidas Derrick Rose Tour, including the 3-on3 grand finals, scheduled in September.