Manila-bound Austin Reaves knows Filipinos are ‘big Lakers fans’
MANILA, Philippines — Austin Reaves is looking forward to playing in Manila as he tries to help Team USA regain the Fiba World Cup glory.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard is looking forward to playing in the Philippines, aware that his NBA team has a lot of Filipino supporters.
“I’ve heard that they’re big Laker fans which I love obviously. But they’re huge basketball fans all in all,” said Reaves in a video posted by Fiba World Cup.
But the main focus of the 25-year-old American is taking home the Naismith Trophy, which Team USA lost in the 2019 World Cup after a disappointing seventh-place finish.
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) August 16, 2023
“It means everything. Winning at the end of the day is the main goal anytime you step on the floor. But to put the USA across your jersey and go win that’s the main goal,” said Reaves.
The undrafted Laker guard, who averaged 13.0 points and 3.4 assists in 64 games played last season, relished all the learnings that he is gaining under four-time NBA champion coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors.
“I think it’s just a lot of high IQ to the game. A sense of that kind of championship DNA because he’s won four [titles] in the past like 10 years or so. I think he’s just professional at his job,” said Reaves of the Team USA coach.
He has gotten praises from Kerr, who commended Reaves’ adaptability and ability to make the team better.
“He’s a connector. He’s a hell of a basketball player. He’s physical, shoots and passes it. Just so poised out there all the time,” said Kerr of Reaves in an interview with HoopJab recently.
“He’s a guy who enhances any lineup that he plays with,” Kerr added.
Reaves is teaming up with NBA All-Stars Anthony Edwards, Brandon Ingram, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jaren Jackson Jr. as well as other members Jalen Brunson, Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges, Bobby Portis Jr., Walker Kessler, Josh Hart, and Cam Johnson.
The USA is slated in Group C with Greece, New Zealand, and Jordan at Mall of Asia Arena.
Reaves and the Americans will kick off their campaign against the Tall Blacks on August 26.
The Lakers guard is also looking forward to facing his former teammate Dennis Schroder and Germany in the final phase as the latter is grouped in Pool E and will play in Okinawa, Japan.
“Definitely, I wanna play Dennis. [For] obvious reasons, he’s a really good friend of mine. He’s going to Toronto next year which I’m kind of sad about but happy for him but definitely want to compete against him,” said Reaves.