"Everybody Should Visit Manila" – Arenas. "Why Don't They?" – Me.

Finally, FINALLY got to view pics from Agent Zero’s recent visit, which helps gives us a taste of the absolute craziness that happens whenever an NBA player, much more an NBA Star, comes over.

Here he is at a Gawad Kalinga Project at Brookside (not 10 mins away from where I stay. Dang).

Giving Tiu tips:

With Manny Pacquiao and Ambassador Kinney:

With the DLSU team before their game last week:

With the ADMU team:

Chaos at MOA:

And what did the man himself have to say about this?

I was stunned. They made me feel like an NBA star. Any NBA players out there: If you’re having a bad day, or you’re having a bad career, go to Manila. They’ll bring your spirits up, trust me. I felt like I just won the NBA championship, to be for real.

There’s something about an NBA star coming over to Manila that is often misunderstood, or rather, underestimated by press and big companies alike. For the most part it has to do with the US’ mentality to bunch Asian countries together like it was all one place (hence events like ‘Asian Tours’, and the inevitable surprise celebrities and athletes get when they realize we have very little in common with one another).

But I guess you also have to have been like most Pinoy kids growing up playing ball in different parts of Manila like I was, to really understand how it is when a player from the NBA comes over. It’s something we guys can finally relate to. Most demographics, women for example, are constantly pandered to by the media (and take it from me, I run a women’s site as well, so I KNOW).

But guys like me? Our idols are rare and beyond reach. When Kobe, Shaq and Tracy came over, it was pandemonium, and people are still talking about those visits until now. It is exciting beyond anything. Beyond reason even. And that is why I don’t understand why the NBA has never, in its decades of existence, had any games played here. Sure we’re dirt poor and we won’t probably be able to afford the tickets the way they’re priced in the US, but I promise you we’d make sure no one would forget it.

One last quote from Gilbert:

One more note on Manila, just so you guys can get a picture of what kind of people they are and how much they adore and love entertainers and the NBA. Think about this: If you’ve ever been to a Beyoncé concert, or anybody’s concert in the states really, if they sell out an arena it will be 20,000 fans. Last year in Beyoncé’s hometown, Houston, she pulled in 12,000 people to her show. D.C. was her biggest sell, she put 18,000 people in the seats. Meanwhile, she was in Manila for two days to do two concerts and she had 85,000 people, two nights straight.

She couldn’t even do it in the arena, she had to do it on the lawn. Like, “Everybody, y’all just get in the grass, I’m going to perform.”

That’s how the people are out there.

Read Gilbert Arenas’ complete blogpost (thank God he blogs) here.

Check out all the 100+ excellent photos from Sandro Paredes here.