Ricky Rubio: Philippine basketball ‘pretty close’ to NBA style

Naveen Ganglani
Ricky Rubio: Philippine basketball ‘pretty close’ to NBA style
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio says he drew this conclusion after he watched Gilas Pilipinas in the World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Outside of the United States, the Philippines is one the countries known for closely following the NBA, and it seems that diligence has translated to the hardwood itself.

One of the National Basketball Association’s players, Ricky Rubio, is currently in town for his tour of Manila, organized by Adidas.

Rubio, who has received adoration and a lot of attention from Filipinos during his visit, said at a press conference on Friday, August 21, that the style of basketball played in the Philippines is already close to the kind played in the NBA.

“I would say it’s pretty close to NBA,” said the 24-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves point guard. “I think Philippine fans follow a lot of NBA and you can tell the way they play, they’re just really good.”

Rubio, a member of Spain’s national basketball team, says he saw first hand the brand of hoops played by the Philippines when Gilas Pilipinas was in Seville for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“Like I said, I watched a lot of Philippines last year [when] they were in Spain playing the World Cup,” said the 4-year NBA pro. 

“I think they’re really close to the NBA style of game.”

(READ: Rubio: Wiggins will one day be MVP, T-Wolves can make playoffs)

One of the biggest hurdles that the Philippine national team always faces in the international stage is its height disadvantage against more towering opponents, notably China and Iran, the country’s two continental rivals.

Despite that obstacle, the 6-foot-4 Rubio said that with the way basketball is played today, playing small is actually a weapon. He gave a substantial example to support his claim.

“If you see basketball, the way it’s going, it’s just more small players and a faster pace,” Rubio said at the press conference held at the Bonifacio Global City branch of Adidas.

He added: “You can see the Golden State Warriors winning the [2015] NBA title and all they do is just run and shoot the ball quick, so I would tell them to take advantage of that. Play fast-paced tempo of the game, and just play fast.”

Rubio, who averaged 10.3 points and 8.8 assists a game last season, also discussed the minimal discrepancy between the NBA game and international play.

“It’s basketball at the end of the day, so it’s the same, but I think international ball is just a little different from the NBA style,” said the Spanish basketball star. 

“International ball is more 5-on-5, it’s more down tempo game, and like I said, the game is changing right now, and I think everybody’s going the NBA way, which is more up-tempo, more fast-paced, and more one-on-one or two-on-two and try and take advantage of those situations” – Rappler.com

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