NBA players Wesley Johnson and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptorsof the Los Angeles Lakers post during the press conference for the 2014 NBA 3X event at the NBA Cafe inside SM Aura in Taguig CIty. With them are NBA Country Manager for the Philippines Carlo Singson, Sprite's Atty. Adel Tamano and Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NBA Asia Scott Levy (Photo by Peter Baltazar)
NBA 3X is back in the Philippines for its fourth year at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall from July 4-6. Bigger than ever, NBA 3X will feature the presence of All-Star DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Wesley Johnson, Sacramento Kings’ mascot Slamson and the Toronto Raptors’ Dance Pak.
DeRozan just came off from a breakout year, making a first All-Star Game appearance and guiding the Toronto Raptors to a franchise-best 48 wins. The high-flying forward averaged 23.9 points in 40.3 minutes during the postseason but came up short in defeating the Brooklyn Nets in a thrilling seven-game series.
“I’m excited for my first visit to the Philippines to experience the country’s unique culture and to be part of NBA 3X,” said Derozan. “Filipinos are world renowned for their passion for the NBA and I can’t wait for this exciting showcase of their basketball talent.”
With the Lakers having one of the biggest fan bases in the Philippines, forward Johnson is aware of his team’s popularity.
“I understand the L.A. Lakers are one of the most popular teams in the country and I’m excited to represent the team at this year’s NBA 3X,” said Johnson.
NBA.com Philippines' Social Media Editor Aldo Avinante interviews DeMar DeRozan (Video by Cris Cayanan)
DeRozan and Johnson emphasized the importance of playing 3-on-3 basketball on a regular basis, saying it aids a player’s growth.
“I think coming up as a kid, you try to play all forms of basketball. Maybe one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three but I think it starts there when you learn to play within a team and play with somebody else and gain other players on the team trust. You start with that. It shows you what basketball is all about because you get to play together,” said Derozan.
“You get to work on your skills like one-on-one and off the dribble type of skills and definitely get to play with a teammate and start to get the team feel. It is definitely fun to be a part of and it can get really competitive,” added Johnson.
Presented by Sprite, NBA 3X Philippines 2014 will showcase the NBA culture with free fan activities, including a slam dunk contest, basketball clinics, 3-point shootouts, skills challenges, autograph sessions and more.
NBA.com Philippines' Social Media Editor Aldo Avinante interviews Wesley Johnson (Video by Cris Cayanan)
Official partners include Adidas, Smart Communications and PLDT, KFC and Phoenix Petroleum, with Acer and Spalding serving as supporting partners. Official broadcasters are ABS-CBN Sports + Action and Basketball TV.
All participants of NBA 3X will receive a jersey and an NBA sling bag. There will also be prizes for the winner of each division. Registration fees run at Php1,000 per team for the age divisions and Php1,600 pesos per team for open division.
For more information on NBA 3x and to register for the 3x3 tournament, log on to www.nba3x.com/philippines. Fans can also get updates on the event by following the NBA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nba_philippines and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/nba3xasia and www.facebook.com/philsnba.
About the Author: Ernest Hernandez is a regular contributor for NBA.com Philippines and Philstar.com. He also hosts a sports program named “Sports On-Air” that can be heard at DZEC 1062 khz every Sunday from 7-8pm. Follow him on Twitter @ernestleo