Curry to grace star-studded UAAP Season 81 opening

Filipino basketball fans’ wish has been granted as two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry will make an appearance at the opening ceremony of the star-studded UAAP Season 81 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Host school National University announced on Thursday night the attendance of the Golden State Warriors’ superstar to the country’s premier collegiate league.

UAAP Season 81 President Nilo Ocampo told The Manila Times that Curry will be gracing the opening Oath of Sportsmanship, which is traditionally done by the league.

The official did not disclose any more details of Curry’s participation as the management wants to keep them from the public as a “surprise.”

“The opening will be so much fun with all the exciting surprises. I cannot reveal them all yet but definitely Curry will be there,” he said in an interview.

Three-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry displays speed during an exhibition at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. ANDREA DE LA CRUZ

Ocampo, who is also the Vice President for Administration for NU, said that the management will keep the “traditional” vibe of the UAAP but will incorporate “new and exciting” related programs and events “to keep the fans from coming and supporting the UAAP.”

“We really wanted more people to come in the opening and, of course, make them stay for the games in support for athletes and rest of the UAAP events,” he said.

Earlier, NU President Renato Carlos Ermita said this year’s season of UAAP will commence with a “wow” factor, with the host school putting up an “exciting good show” in the opening ceremony.

Curry is visiting Manila as part of his three-city Asian tour that includes Wuhan, China and Tokyo, Japan, to promote the latest release from his signature shoe line.

This will be Curry’s second time to visit the the Philippines after his successful tour back in 2015.

Besides Curry, K-pop start and former 2NE1 member Minzy is set to perform at the opening of this year’s UAAP season.

Meanwhile, heavily-retooled University of the Philippines takes on University of the East while NU tangles with University of Santo Tomas (UST) as the men’s basketball tournament unfolds right after the program.

The Fighting Maroons and the Red Warriors open the season hostilities at 2 p.m. even as the Bulldogs and the Growling Tigers.

Anchored on its “nowhere to go but up” mantra, head coach Bo Perasol and his Diliman-based squad are aiming for a winning start to their bid of ending a 21-year Final Four drought.

The State U added Nigerian center Bright Akhuetie and former NCAA juniors MVP Will Gozum to its lineup that already boasts of veteran guard Paul Desiderio, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez De Liaño and Jun Manzo.

With champion mentor Joe Silva in tow, the Red Warriors are equally eager to transform from a cellar-dweller to a contender.

Silva will parade prolific scorer Alvin Pasaol along with shifty guard Philip Manalang and big men Rey Mark Acuno and Wil Bartolome.

Much like Perasol, sophomore coach Jamike Jarin will also have a bolstered NU squad hungry for a return to the semifinals after missing out for two years.

The Bulldogs secured the services of former high school stars John Lloyd Clemente and John Galinato while Gilas Cadet forward Troy Rike will suit up for a one-and-done season to support Dave Yu, Rev Diputado and Senegalese center Issa Gaye.

The Tigers lost several veteran players during offseason. But UST head coach Aldin Ayo, who will have some prized rookies including UAAP juniors MVP CJ Cansino and returning cagers Renzo Subido and Embons Bonleon, vowed that they will go all-out every game.

The post Curry to grace star-studded UAAP Season 81 opening appeared first on The Manila Times Online.

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