James Harden kicks off Manila Tour with visit to UP

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 25, 2019 07:09 PM
James Harden kicks off Manila Tour with visit to UP
NBA star James Harden meets UP Women's Basketball Team member Nor-Aisah Lucman at the kickoff event of the Free To Harden Manila Tour at the UP CHK Gym

NBA superstar James Harden of the Houston Rockets arrived in Manila, Tuesday for his adidas "Free To Harden Manila 2019" Tour, and his first stop was at the College of Human Kinetics Gym inside the University of the Philippines Campus in Quezon City. 

Harden was able to meet and greet with members of the National Wheelchair Basketball Team before conducting a mini-training camp for a handful of lucky kids. 

The 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player led the young hoopers in drills and even participated in a three-point shootout. 

Harden was actually bested in the shootout by one of the young participants, Aaron Nuguid, a 12th Grader and varsity basketball player from Ateneo de Manila. 

"Talagang starstruck ako at first, actually medyo nagkakamali pa nga ako sa drills kanina eh, si James Harden yung nasa harapan ko eh," shared Nuguid. "Pero ang ganda ng pakikisama ni James Harden sa amin, kaya super saya." 

"Pwede ko ipag-mayabang, pero sa tingin ko pinag-bigyan lang siguro ako eh no?" Nuguid said with a laugh, talking about his shootout win over "The Beard." 

One of the luckiest attendants of the event however, was University of the Philippines Women's Basketball Team member Nor-Aisah Lucman, a scholar from Marawi. 

Lucman was able to meet, greet, and even hug Harden, and share her story with the NBA star.

Harden in turn had some words of encouragement for the Lady Fighting Maroon.

"My experience, para akong kinakabahan, kasi yung tinitignan mo lang noon sa TV tsaka sa YouTube, parang hindi ka makapaniwala," Nor-Aisah told ABS-CBN Sports about her interaction with the seven-time NBA All-Star. "Hindi pa siya nag-sink in sa utak ko. Wow, totoo ba ito? Parang, amazing po." 

Nor-Aisah shared that it was actually her brother that influenced her in becoming a fan of the Bearded One. 

"Yung kapatid ko, paborito talaga niya, tapos na-influence na ako, tapos nanonood na ako ng mga laro niya tsaka mga play niya tsaka mga moves niya. Kapag naglalaro kami ng mga kapatid ko, ginagawa niya sa akin [yung moves ni Harden] tapos natatawa na lang ako, kasi super-idol niya." 

Harden ended the short program by thanking everyone who came out. 

The Free To Harden Manila 2019 tour continues on Wedneday, June 26th at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia.  

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