2012 NBA 3X Philippines ends with a bang

By Aldo Avinante, special to Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – NBA 3X Philippines presented by Sprite concluded with a bang last August 19 with Brooklyn Nets Star Brook Lopez enjoying himself at the event with great basketball action, performances and side games at the SM Mall of Asia Music hall.

The seven-foot center enjoyed his first trip to the Philippines so much that he vowed to come back

"I had a great time this whole weekend. It has been so much fun for me, I'd like to come back as soon as I can. If my schedule is free, I will definitely come back," said Lopez with a smile.

Lopez was accompanied by fellow NBA talents the Lady Cats and the Orlando Magic’s mascot Stuff the Magic Dragon.

The NBA contingent toured the venue and entertained the huge crowd in the rafters.

Stuff went out his way to goof with the crowd, performing stunts to the delight of the fans, while the Lady Cats heated up the dance floor a couple of times with their dazzling display of dance moves.

International dance group Blush, an all-girl group composed of five girls from different parts of Asia, performed in the final day of the festivities and rocked the house with scintillating performances.

The 3-on-3 tournament gave the Lopez a glimpse of the Filipino's basketball prowess.

"The talent level is great but what impressed me the most is the Filipino’s passion and love for the game. The physicality is really something. If they can compete and continue to play against the best competition, no doubt they can play in the professional level," said Lopez.

In the Men's Open Division, team Double Play edged Team AMA Seniors B, 13-7, to top the category.

Double Play was the last team standing in a pool of over 200 teams. The team is composed of Eduardo Reyes, Glen Hecita, Junnie Barranta and Gerold Canson.

"The event was overwhelming and we're so happy with the championship. We prepared hard for this tournament and we're looking forward to next year," said Reyes, a high school teacher at Lourdes School of Mandaluyong.

"The finals was a really physical game but it is already given because both teams really want to win. But we're lucky enough to have the breaks of the game," added Reyes.

In the other divisions, Team AMA Mens A defeated their teammates Team AMA Mens B, 9-5, in the Boys 16-18 Division; LPU Pirates (France Mae) thwarted LPU Pirates (Jessa), 6-2, in the Girls Open Division; Peacemakers outplayed St. Anthony, 15-10, in the Boys 13-15 Division; FEU Lady Tamaraws repulsed IMS Falcons, 10-7, in the Girls 13-15 Division; while Young Hounds outlasted Berkeley, 12-11, in the Boys 10-12 Division.

Team Spirit Fingers, composed of former San Beda standout Sudan Daniel, Jon Hall, Rich Harden and Erik Waldie, ruled the heavily watched Celebrity Division.

"I love the competition to play against 6'7 and 6'8 players. It was so much fun. I want to thank the NBA for inviting us with this great opportunity," said Hall.

In the Sprite Slam Dunk side event, newcomer Ameen Sardouk won with a pair of spectacular dunks – including a between-the-legs slam – to impress the panel of judges that included Lopez, Lady Cats Cara and Shardia, Stuff and Blush Filipina member Angeli.

"It's a great feeling to win this event and a great experience for me. Hopefully next year I get the chance to compete again and perform better," said Sardouk.

Coming off a foot injury, Lopez, a former Stanford University standout, is ready to play in the next season and asks his fans to support him and the Brooklyn Nets next season.

"I like to thank everyone for their support here. Everyone has been fantastic and it’s great that they came out here and supported the athletes. I hope they continue to support the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets in the coming season. Again, thank you so much for the warm welcome," Lopez ended.

This year’s NBA 3X Philippines is backed by official partner KFC, with Nestle Kit Kat, Monster Cable and Spalding as sponsors. Media partners include Solar TV Network, Studio 23, X-Play Online Games, The Philippine Star, and Slam Magazine.

Marriott Hotel and SM Mall of Asia act as venue partners.

Photo above shows NBA 3X 2012 Philippines new Men's Open Division champions Pasig City's Double Play.

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