Damian Lillard will join other NBA stars such as Kawhi Leonard, Paul Pierce, DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, and Kyle Lowry in a “pick-up game” against the Philippine National Basketball team, Gilas. The all-star charity event will take place on July 22nd and 23rd at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Proceeds will be donated to Philippines Disaster Recovery Foundation. Tickets for the event, dubbed “Gilas Last Home Stand,” will begin at P750 ($17.21 U.S. Dollar).
This is a fun way for Lillard to help those in need, get a little competitive practice, and expand his personal brand this summer. The game is ambitious preparation for Gilas as they ready themselves for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. More than anything else, though, hosting globally recognized stars is a morale booster for Filipinos supporting their team:
“This is a fitting send-off for Gilas as they defend the Philippine flag at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. This is our grand comeback to the world stage, so having a special pick-up game with a powerhouse cast of players will definitely rally the spirits of Filipinos and inspire the boys to play harder.”
-Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes via InterAksyon
It will be interesting to see whether the game turns into a death match or a meet and greet for Gilas. I would love for it to be the gritty home team vs. Monstars matchup the Filipino fans deserve, though I would not expect any cartoonish animosity in either case. The event is for the fans and the players alike, so the competitive and theatrical balance will likely mirror that of the NBA All-star game.