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NBA open to Manila game

The Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets — National Basketball Association squads with solid links to the Philippines — could end up playing a Philippine Basketball Association selection down the road.

This was relayed by NBA Managing Director Ramez Sheikh, citing negotiations and logistics as factors in determining whether the event will happen or not.

The PBA has recently been trying to work out a partnership with Australia’s National Basketball League.

“Is there a chance? Yes, if there is an opportunity. If we can make the logistics work, the timing, we’re open,” Sheikh said during a media roundtable discussion a few days ago.

Both the Jazz and the Rockets feature Filipino-American players Jordan Clarkson and Jalen Green, respectively.

In 2011, PBA All-Star team led by Arwind Santos and Mark Pingris played against a handful of NBA stars led by the late Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Chris Paul and James Harden.

Two years later, the NBA returned to the Philippines for the NBA Global Games which featured a friendly game between Houston and Indiana.

Sheikh said they are also excited in lending a hand to the country’s hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup with the knockout stages being held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“FIBA and the NBA have a great relationship. In April when we have the draw, we will pay close attention to that how can we support that via the USA basketball team,” Sheikh said.

“I imagine there will be a sizable number that will play in the World Cup. Not just Team USA (United States) but also the international teams.”

“Right now, plans are being put together by all the constituents depending on which teams will play in the Philippines. I’m sure there will be activities for all the players through FIBA.”

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