Filipinos’ passion for basketball draws Horry, Drexler back to Manila
MANILA, Philippines—Seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry and legend Clyde Drexler, who won a title with the Houston Rockets, couldn’t help but be awestruck with Asia’s basketball mecca that is Manila.
Horry, who won championships with the Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, and Drexler, a member of the original Dream Team that won the gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, hit town for the NBA Global Games featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Rockets on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s great [to be back here]. Actually, I requested this trip. The NBA asked me which trip I want to go either this trip or Shanghai and I enjoyed Manila the last time I was here because there’s nothing like being around great basketball fans. It’s the number one sport here and you just want to see the excitement,” marveled Horry, who visited the country back in 2009 for the NBA Asia Challenge along with Dominique Wilkins and Tim Hardaway, among others.
“And I had a lot of excitement being here because the fans came out and [watched] some old legends just imagine that you get this new young guys that can really play and so I’m excited for the game and see the fans come out and support the NBA,” added Horry, who hit countless of clutch shots throughout.
Drexler, too, had the same memory of Manila.
“I always have a great time here in Manila. It’s a phenomenal place to be. The people here love the NBA and it’s always a pleasure to have the NBA here in Manila. So when you put the two together it spells a great time,” said the 10-time NBA All-star Drexler, who spent his first 12 seasons in the league in Portland where he led the Trailblazers to two Finals appearances.
“The people are so nice, the food is good and we always enjoy the common theme of NBA action,” added the 51-year-old Drexler, one of the best shooting guards in the game, during an intimate interview with reporters at Sofitel Manila Monday.
Drexler also expressed wanting to watch some of the country’s local talents.
“I would love to see a PBA game. It’s good competition. And if you love basketball you always enjoy good high quality basketball. The players here are good shooters. They’re very quick and fun to watch. I think you qualified for the world’s congratulations; I think it’s a step in the right direction. It just shows you that basketball has really developed in this country.”
And as for the first ever NBA game here, Horry and Drexler are probably just as excited as the basketball-crazy Filipinos.
“It’s exciting to see the love that the Filipino people have for basketball and I’m really excited for the game because I know it’s going to be a packed house and it’s going to be crazy so I’m excited just to see how many people would come out just to see the game,” said Horry.
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