Rodman: We’re not over the hill yet
MANILA, Philippines – Hoops fans can expect a unique night of basketball when former Chicago Bulls stars Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman lead a crew of American hardcourt legends in a one-night exhibition game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Pippen on Tuesday promised to impress local fans when they take on a roster of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) greats on Wednesday’s “All-Star Basketball Challenge.”
“We know there's a lot of great fans here, knowledgeable fans,” said Pippen, who is best remembered for his on-court partnership with US basketball icon and former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan.
Former NBA players pose with ex-PBA stars in the All-Star Basketball Challenge press conference at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday. Standing at the back row are Dennis Rodman, Jason Williams, Mitch Ritchmond, Bong Hawkins and Vince Hizon. In front are Horace Grant, US coach Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, Scottie Pippen, Jerry Codiñera and Jojo Lastimosa. Photo by Dennis Gasgonia for ABS-CBNnews.com
“We're looking forward to put on a really good show,” he added.
Pippen, who was Chicago's small forward, will team up with Rodman and former NBA players Mitch Ritchmond, Cliff Robinson, Bryon Russell, Jeff Trepagnier, Jason Williams, Charoy Bentley and Alexis Foyle to form the US All-Stars.
They will be coached by 12-time NBA All-Star Oscar “The Big O” Robertson.
The Philippine All-Star team includes Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino, Nelson Asaytono, Bong Hawkins, Bal David, EJ Feihl, Noli Locsin, Jerry Codinera, Vince Hizon and Jojo Lastimosa.
Rodman, NBA’s bad boy in the 1990s, said he's glad about returning to the Philippines.
“It's always great to come here, great city, great atmosphere where people actually love the game of basketball,” said the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
It is Rodman’s second visit to the Philippines. His first was in 2006 when he played a couple of exhibition games with a local selection.
His father, who allegedly deserted Rodman and his mother, is based in Angeles, Pampanga.
“I think a lot of you guys know that my so-called father lives here so I won't be surprised if he shows up at the game,” said Rodman.
Rodman stressed that they can still play ball, and they’re out to prove it on Wednesday night.
“We're not over the hill yet, that's why we're here to give you a good show,” said the 51-year-old NBA legend.
Even the PBA greats playing in the All-Star Challenge expect the former NBA players to engage them in a fast-paced game.
Lastimosa said one of the American players, Jason Williams, is not that old.
“Jason is only 36 years old, so mas-mabilis siya definitely...They're gonna be faster than you think,” said the former Alaska Ace.
Jerry Codiñera, who now calls the shots for the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, believes the Americans can still play competitively.
“They're all legends they're in good shape... ibang level sila, so we'll put up a good show and hopefully, we will last until the fourth quarter,” he said.
Bong Hawkins, meanwhile, was astonished by the size of his aging competitors.
“May kaba din ng konti kasi makikita mo sila anlalaki pala talaga. Dito sa atin, ako na 'yung malaki pero pag kinamayan mo sila, talagang kalahati ng kamay ko eh,” he said.