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MANILA, Philippines – French basketball champion team ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne is coming to the Philippines to play exhibition matches from August 26 to September 4 as part of the 75th anniversary of Philippine-French diplomatic relations this year.
ASVEL, currently owned and presided over by NBA legend Tony Parker, will play three matches at the Araneta Coliseum: first against PBA team Blackwater Bossing, second against East Asia Super League (EASL) team Hong Kong Dragons, and third against Gilas Pilipinas.
“I believe with Lyon coming in, it will create a big stir here in the country. [ASVEL] will give our Philippine teams a show to see how good we are in basketball and I hope they will not give us a hard time here,” said Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy at the Philippine-France press conference at the Ayala Museum.
ASVEL – the winningest program in France’s top pro league – is bannered by multiple NBA-caliber stars, most notably top prospect Victor Wembenyama, NBA champion forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, and former Phoenix Suns guard Elie Okobo.
They have won 20 total Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB) Pro A titles, nine more than their next closest competitor, Limoges CSP.
The France games in the Philippines will serve as openers during the PBA finals, creating some double-header game dates on the schedule.
These friendlies are part of a six-month celebration of France and the Philippines’ diplomatic diamond anniversary, which is set to showcase the best collaborations of the two countries in art, cinema, music, and sports. – Rappler.com