'Spida in Manila': NBA rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell hits Manila
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 17, 2018 05:56 PM
Donovan Mitchell answers questions during a panel press conference in Manila.
NBA Rookie of the Year frontrunner Donovan 'Spida' Mitchell hit Philippine shores, Sunday, in the #SpidaInMNL tour, organized by adidas.
The 21-year old Mitchell, who arrived in Manila early Sunday morning, led the Utah Jazz to a Western Conference Semifinals playoff run, taking out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round before falling to the Houston Rockets in five games.
As fantastic as Utah's season was, the same can be said, arguably even more so, for Mitchell, who was selected 13th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
After the departure of former franchise player Gordon Hayward, many expected the Jazz to be in rebuilding mode.
Instead, the Jazz found a potential cornerstone in the first-year playmaker.
Putting up 20.5 points a game in his rookie season, Mitchell led Utah to a 48-34 record, good for fifth in the West.
Aside from a stellar rookie season, Mitchell was also the 2018 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Champion as well as a member of the 2018 NBA All Rookie first team.
In a panel interview held at adidas Bonifacio Global City, Mitchell took time to answer questions regarding his amazing rookie campaign, his transition from college to the NBA, and his daily and pre-game routines to name a few.
"This is awesome, I see all the people outside, I wanna give them love, this is awesome." Mitchell said about the massive welcome he received upon arriving.
Mitchell was joined on the panel by PBA veteran Chris Tiu, Gilas cadet Kobe Paras, and new UP Fighting Maroon Bright Akhuetie, who all got to share a bit about themselves and interact with the NBA rook as well.
After the scrum, Mitchell did a meet and greet with a handful of lucky fans.
After that, it was straight ot Taft Food at the Court for Mitchell for a quick basketball camp with a handful of lucky young ballers.
Mitchell put the kids through some dribbling and shooting drills, before having a little friendly competition with some of the pros and collegiate hoops stars in attendance.
PBA rookie Rey Nambatac, former NU star JJay Alejandro, and UP playmakers Diego Dario and Jun Manzo were some of the guys to challenge Mitchell to a three-point shootout.
Mitchell then led the likes of Alex Mallari, Arvin Tolentino, and Jerrick Ahanmisi into a modified game of HORSE named SPIDA, to fit Mitchell's standards of course, before judging a dunk-off between Paras, Mallari and Akhuetie to close things off.
"Thankful [ako] kasi once in a lifetime lang maka-meet ng ganyang players, tapos siya pa. Nag-eexcell siya sa NBA as a rookie, kaya sobrang saya ko," said San Beda's Penny Estacio, one of the kids who participated in the camp.
"It's cool, the energy, the flow, we're all having fun right now," Akhuetie said of the experience. "It's really good to have somebody like [Donovan] because it gives us motivation and makes us wanna strive for more."
With Mitchell's increasing popularity, plus the warm welcome he received in the Philippines, it's highly likely that this won't be his last time in the country.