‘Incredible’ Filipino fans show Luka Doncic, Slovenia love one last time
MANILA, Philippines — Luka Doncic’s final game in the Fiba World Cup 2023 will leave a lasting impact on Filipino basketball fans, most especially the kids.
Doncic is one of the most loved and influential NBA players to visit the country since the memorable tours of the late Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Steph Curry.
With Doncic, Slovenia drew the biggest crowd in all of its three games in Manila despite two of its games coming in the classification phase.
All the support and love for Slovenia certainly did not go unnoticed with coach Aleksander Sekulic and guard Zoran Dragic making sure to express their gratitude to Filipino fans who made them feel at home.
“I really enjoyed this time in [the] Philippines. We had amazing support, thanks to the fans who supported us and made us feel like we played at home. I know that it’s mostly because of Luka but we take advantage of this,” said Sekulic on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena. “It was a great game. It was a game we wanted to win, obviously. We wanted to finish the tournament with a win.”
“The Filipino fans, they are incredible. We didn’t know that we have so much fans here,” Dragic said.
In his final act in Manila, Doncic gave Filipinos a treat with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lift Slovenia past Italy, 89-85, for seventh place–matching the country’s best finish in the World Cup back in 2014.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, the fans even showered Doncic with MVP chants while he was at the free throw line.
The 24-year-old Doncic fulfilled his promise to win a game for the Filipinos and even gave away his game-worn sneakers to the fans. He also handed his Player of the Game trophy to former La Salle player Prince Rivero, who named his son after the Dallas Mavericks superstar.