Filipinos’ love for basketball is beyond comparison. Whether the sport is played at a local or an international hardwood, the Pinoy fans wear their hearts on their sleeves upon watching—live courtside or on television at home.
With the NBA festivities kickoff last week, two Filipino athletes were given the opportunity to personally witness the events in store for the biggest men’s basketball league in the world. Volleyball superstars and personalities Alyssa Valdez and Gretchen Ho arrived in Charlotte, USA on February 13 for the NBA All-Star weekend.
Ho, an NBA Philippines influencer, had gone back to grace the occasion for the second time. In a video uploaded on social media, Ho introduced Valdez as her companion—who like her is a former member of the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team.
“For the main event, I am back here in the United States to head to the NBA All-Star. But this time, may kasama po akong special someone. May clue ako para sa inyo. Unang-una, matagal po pinagsamahan namin; pangalawa, nagho-host siya; pangatlo, Atenista po siya. […] Walang iba kundi si Alyssa valdez,” Ho says in excitement.
Having arrived just a day before the Valentine’s Day, the two decided to call it their ‘ball-entines’ date.
On her first time, Valdez was in much anticipation to meet and be inspired by the NBA players such as Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic of Dallas Mavericks; rising stars Kyle Kuzma of Los Angeles Lakers; Jayson Tatum of Boston Celtics; Lauri Markkanen of Chicago Bulls; Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, and Jarret Allen of Brooklyn Nets; Kevin Knox of New York Knicks; and Trae Young of Atlanta Hawks—some of whom have been exclusively interviewed by Ho and was broadcast on the official social media accounts of NBA.
Over the action-packed weekend, the NBA players competed on several ball competitions that included Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk event among others. All these led to an improved and much more competitive All-Star game; in celebration of the best players of the tournament, with teams selected by the top vote-getters of each conference.
The all-star greatness of the 68th NBA All-Star witnessed the intense game between Team Giannis and Team Lebron, held at the Spectrum Center earlier today. Down by as much as 20 points in the second half, Team LeBron rallied past Team Giannis and eventually took the win, 178-164. Kevin Durant, meanwhile, had a team-high 31 points and was declared the NBA 2019 Most Valuable Player, his second MVP plum after clinching it in 2012.
The two former Lady Eagles took to social media to express how unforgettable the experience would be. Having seen yesterday’s birthday celebrant Michael Jordan in flesh for the turnover of NBA All-Star from Charlotte to Chicago in 2020, it definitely was a weekend to remember.
Featured image from NBA Philippines Twitter account.
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