Photo by Alvin Brian Go/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The Spida is in Manila!
Donovan Mitchell, the reigning NBA Slam Dunk Champion and super rookie of the Utah Jazz, visited the Philippines for the first time to promote his shoe brand and have a meet-and-greet with some lucky Pinoy fans last Sunday, June 17.
The 21-year old got the best of what Manila had to offer right off the bat, as he got accompanied by local basketball talents in a press conference at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Donovan Mitchell arrives in Adidas Store, BGC with local stars Chris Tiu, Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie for #SpidainManila! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/gn8qZQdWgo — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
Flanked by Rain or Shine veteran Chris Tiu, Gilas cadet Kobe Paras and University of the Philippines' Bright Akhuetie, Mitchell talked about overcoming uncertainties and adversities throughout his rookie campaign with the Jazz.
Donovan Mitchell on his next step next season after a record-setting rookie season: "Forget about what happened last year. Act like it never happened." @RapplerSports — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
Everything certainly worked out well, as Mitchell finished with averages of 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists against the best players in the world.
He has evolved into one of the league’s fearless talents, and we really do mean fearless, as he made a pitch to recruit Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Paul George to join him in Utah before ending the presser.
Donovan Mitchell makes pitch to Paul George to join the Utah Jazz to end the press conference. Gobert, George and Mitchell? @RapplerSports — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
He next went to the Taft Food by the Court food park to play with some lucky kids and fellow players. Despite nursing a left knee injury, Mitchell took the time for some dribbling drills with the youngsters.
Donovan Mitchell arrives at Taft Food by the Court to do drills with lucky Pinoy kids! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/83zGaReOPG — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
More drills from Donovan Mitchell here at Taft Food by the Court for #SpidaInManila! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/S3VJwaDBGc — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
Donovan Mitchell got impressed by the shooting of former NU Bulldog and current Gilas Pilipinas 2023 cadet JJay Alejandro, so he challenged him to a 1-on-1 3-point shootout! Mitchell edged out Alejandro by two, 11-9. @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/1UOdPntWVX — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
Here’s Alejandro shoulder to shoulder with Mitchell in a group photo – the Spida seal of approval.
Donovan Mitchell poses with some of the Philippines' best professional and collegiate players for #SpidaInManila! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/Oc5r1inXu9 — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
We’re sure Mitchell would have given anything to wow the Taft crowd with his skywalking jams, but at least they got a very solid replacement.
Kobe Paras busts out the reverse windmill for the fans at #SpidaInManila! Unfortunately, Donovan Mitchell couldn't showcase his champion dunking skills due to a recurring left knee injury. @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/f4rXDDviyA — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 17, 2018
Anyone named Kobe has the tools to win a Slam Dunk Contest, apparently.
Here’s what the Taft crowd missed, though. They missed a LOT.
And of course, what would a Manila trip be for a basketball player without watching some PBA?
Mitchell chose the perfect day to stop by the basketball-crazed nation, as he got a chance to watch (and even commentate) the illustrious Manila Clasico rivalry between the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Magnolia Hotshots.
Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler
There’s no word yet on whether or not Mitchell would return here one day, but really, with an unmatched basketball following like the Philippines has, who can resist? – Rappler.com