Rockets collide with Pacers today


James Harden no.13, of the Houston Rockets fires a jumpshot past Paul George no.24, of the Indiana Pacers. FILE PHOTO

COACHES Frank Vogel of Indiana Pacers and Kevin McHale of the Houston Rockets assured fans of an exciting pre-season game when their wards clash today in the 2013 National Basketball Association (NBA) Global Games at the 16,000-seater Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The organizers of the first ever NBA game held in Southeast Asia set at 7 p.m. said that all tickets including the Premium A seats that costs P32,300 and Premium B that costs P27,000 were already sold out.

Both Vogel and McHale were impressed by the Filipinos’ warm reception of the two teams, which are both aiming for the NBA crown in the 2013-2014 season.

Taiwanese-American Jeremy Lin, superstar center Dwight Howard and James Harden will lead the Rockets against All-Star players Paul George and Roy Hibbert of the Pacers.

“It’s my second time here. And the whole team is so excited to play before the basketball-loving Filipinos. We will give them a great game,” said Harden.

Former NBA player Clyde Drexler, who played for the Rockets and Portland Trailblazers in the 1980s until the 1990s’, said that both Houston and Indiana have strong potentials to reach the NBA Finals this season because the two are high caliber teams that can provide a great game.

“When you have these teams together expect an exciting game. They can be in the NBA Finals this season. You are lucky to have them both here. These two teams can be the best franchises in the NBA,” said Drexler.

The 25-year-old Lin is the first Taiwanese-American to play in the NBA. He signed a three-year contract with the Rockets in 2012 after leading the New York Knicks to a winning streak that catapulted him to a superstar status.

Most of the spectators are expected to focus on Lin, whose recent success led to the birth of “Linsanity.” The phenomenon was made into a movie that is also being shown in Metro Manila theaters.

“I really appreciate everything that Filipinos have extended to me. It’s really great to become your inspiration not only here but also to my fellow Asians, whose dreams I also wanted to become real if you don’t give up and keep on persevering,” said Lin, a Harvard University graduate.

Paul George of the Pacers, on the other hand, is out to prove the validity of his $90-million five-year contract extension.

“I know, there has been a lot of expectations from me. I am ready. That expectations will just make me play better,” said the 23-year-old guard-forward George, a 10th overall pick in 2010 and a member of the NBA All-Star last year.


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