NBA champ lauds Pinoys in Asian basketball



The Manila Times


WITH basketball being considered as a global sport, NBA champion Metta Sandiford-Artest wasn’t surprised to see the influx of Filipino players playing in different leagues in Asia and Oceania. “It’s a global sport, so it’s not surprising if you see Filipino players playing elsewhere. The game is continuously evolving,” said Sandiford-Artest who serves as an ambassador to the East Asia Super League (EASL). As early as two years ago, Filipino players started to make their mark in different leagues across Asia as Thirdy Ravena started the first wave of Pinoy players and was later on joined in by his elder brother, Kiefer, in the Japan B.League. Also seeing action in the B.League are fellow second generation cagers Ray Parks and Kobe Paras, while brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano also had their opportunities playing there while Kai Sotto was acquired by the Adelaide 36ers to play in the NBL Australia before applying for this year’s NBA Draft where he ended up undrafted. In Taiwan, Jordan Heading and Jason Brickman were able to make waves for their respective teams. Sandiford-Artest has a FilipinoAmerican son, Jeron Artest, his offspring from Jennifer Palma. The young Artest had already secured a Philippine passport to be able to play for the national team. For Sandiford-Artest, seeing Filipino players playing everywhere is always a great opportunity. “I have family here, also. It’s a huge opportunity,” added Sandiford-Artest. “My son is half-Filipino. I’ll be back here. Basketball has been great for many other things. Just me being a basketball player, I got introduced to a lady from the Philippines, used to go to school, walking two hours to school, came to America and became a nurse. She set up her own company and I pushed her to make it to the next level.” “And now, you’re talking about somebody who’s been a fan of basketball, who recognized me. She’s a female CEO in the health care industry dominated by men in America and now, she’s been able to raise millions of dollars straight from basketball and together with EASL, they’re bringing it together. That’s what basketball does.” The retired NBA player, who won a championship playing for the LA Lakers team in 2010 alongside the late great Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, graced the drawing of lots of the EASL held a few days ago at Shangri-La Fort Manila and he is looking forward to see a different brand of basketball in the region.