By Aldo Avinante, special to NBA.com Philippines
MANILA, Philippines – Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez arrived in the country for the 2012 NBA 3X Philippines, expressing enthusiasm over his first trip here.
A former Stanford University standout, Lopez said he excited to witness firsthand the Filipino brand of basketball.
"I’m definitely excited to see people play in it, it is somewhat similar in a London event about two years ago. It is a very fun event," said Lopez, who is recovering from a foot injury he suffered last season.
"I'm excited to see the locals play. I can’t wait to see some hopefully play in the PBA someday and maybe even in the NBA," Lopez added.
Coming off an injury-riddled season, Lopez, whose twin brother Robin will suit up for the New Orleans Hornets, said he has been rehabbing well and will be ready to play this season.
"I'm doing great. My foot's well and I'm ready for the season to start already. I'm ready to go," he said.
Lopez said he has heard so much about the country from friends and even a former teammate in high school.
"I've heard you guys are huge NBA and basketball fans and that it is your favorite sport here. That made me really excited to come out and meet some people and definitely talk some basketball with you guys," said Lopez.
"I have a Filipino friend who is my high school point guard and he played in the PBA D-league. His name is Ryan Raypon. I think he played in the PBA D-League, let me see if a can get his right, Cobra Energy Drink," he added.
The seven-foot Lopez, who is sporting an afro, has also found his Philippine trip great so far. He said he will try his luck in finding here some comic books – his passion.
"It’s awesome here. The people are very hospitable. I can't wait to really go out and explore. I’m gonna have to find myself a good comic shop here so whenever I come back here I know where to go," said Lopez.
With the Brooklyn Nets beefing up their roster during the offseason – acquiring players like premier shooting guard Joe Johnson and workhorse Reggie Evans, and re-signing Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace – Lopez said he could hardly wait for the start of the next season.
"I hope that Filipino fans tune in to watch Brooklyn Nets we are going to have an exciting season we don’t want any of you to miss out anything we'd love to have as many Filipino fans to support us because we are going to have one heck of a year" said Lopez.
The NBA 3X event runs until August 19 at the SM Mall of Asia.
Photo above shows Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez with the Lady Cats dancers and Orlando Magic mascot's Stuff during the opening ceremonies of NBA 3X Philippines at the Mall of Asia. (Photo by Cris Cayanan)
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