Puerto Rico coach hears good things about PH basketball from Renaldo Balkman – rezal404

Puerto Rico coach Nelson Colon with Tremont Waters Fiba World Cup

Puerto Rico coach Nelson Colon with Tremont Waters. –FIBA BASKETBALL

MANILA, Philippines — Puerto Rico coach Nelson Colon learned a lot of good things about Philippine basketball from his friend and former PBA import Renaldo Balkman ahead of their trip to Manila for the Fiba World Cup 2023.

Colon shared that he heard a lot about the Philippines from former Puerto Rican national player Balkman, who also played as the import of Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League from 2018 to 2019 and recently saw action as reinforcement for Strong Group and Zamboanga Valientes this year.

“Renaldo is a good friend of mine, a friend of the team. And, when you get a chance to talk with the players who played overseas. We’re talking about not just Renaldo, we got a lot of players who got the chance to play here,” Colon said in the introductory press conference on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“All the players said great things about the organization, the teams, the fans. They like to play here and so, comments about the Philippines have been very good. Very good people.  The Philippines is a great country. It’s a pleasure to be here. We had a great practice here.”

Renaldo Balkman watches the PBA semifinals.

Renaldo Balkman watches the PBA semifinals. –INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Puerto Rico guard Tremont Waters also learned a lot of good things about Manila from Myles Powell, who played for the Bay Area Dragons in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last year.

And the hospitality of the Filipinos didn’t disappoint him when they landed on Tuesday.

“I believe one person I met, Myles Powell. He played here last season. He had nothing to say about great things to say. Obviously, the great fans… Honestly, when we arrived at the airport, many tried to take pictures. Nothing but good vibes and we had a good time. Nothing but a good time,” said Waters, who last played in the NBA with the Washington Wizards last year.

“It’s very humbling to be here. Whereas we had a chance to play with great teams, the USA, Serbia, Italy, Lithuania, and Latvia. I think we had a great time and got to know each other. We had a couple of great practices. We go out there and do battle. Like I said, the games to qualify and get it real,” he added.

Playing in front of a basketball-loving nation, Puerto Rico is seeking to leave everything on the floor when it battles South Sudan, China, and Serbia in Group B.

“Nothing’s gonna be easy. All the games are tough in this situation. My team will find a way to play winning basketball and compete 100 percent. We go day by day, one game in the tournament. And try to go and qualify [to the next round],” said Colon 

Puerto Rico will make its 10th consecutive World Cup appearance, facing South Sudan on Saturday, 4 p.m., at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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