Former NBA champion Metta World Peace is in Manila to speak at a coaches' clinic as part of the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC). His son Jeron Artest basically made it all happen. World Peace, a player development coach for the South Bay Lakers in the NBA G League, will be a guest speaker at the Go for Gold NBTC Coaches Convention presented by SM held at the Mall of Asia Arena from March 22-24.
Metta World Peace is also in town to watch his son Jeron in the NBTC National Finals as part of FilAm Sports USA.
"My son told me about this trip," Metta World Peace said. "He's been really excited about it. He said, 'Hey, do you want to come?' And then he pretty much made this happen for me. You know, I'm really excited to be here. And you know, I was here last year. [The] Philippines, obviously, [has] a love for sports. You know I'm from Queens, New York City, a huge Filipino community in New York City, Queens. So being here last year was just an amazing experience."
Jeron was thrilled that his dad was able to join him in the Philippines.
"I was way excited before my dad even decided to come on the trip. So now, he's on the trip, he makes it even more enjoyable," he said.
Jeron and the rest of FilAm Sports USA are currently making waves in the ongoing NBTC National Finals. They barged into the Fantastic 8 with a 90-67 drubbing of UAAP powerhouse Ateneo Blue Eaglets. FilAm Sports USA is among the 32 teams playing in the annual basketball tournament featuring some of the best high schools squads in the region.
"It's high level, it's pretty good," Jeron said of the level of play in the Philippines. "The teams are really well-coached, I think. So far, they've been executing really well."
Father and son had some thoughts on the different style of officiating in the tournament.
"It's a very physical game," Jeron said. "But then on top of it, I was getting a lot of foul calls myself for things that I felt wasn't that physical that I would usually do in the States. So I don't know. I feel like it varies, depends on who's playing."
"It's called FIBA, FIBA rules," Metta World Peace said. "Yeah, that's what it is. Because FIBA rules are like the overseas rules. The Philippines is adapting those rules and it's a little bit different. FIBA rules are a little bit different. It seems physical but it's really not, you know? So yeah, I get what you're going through. I played in Italy. So your dad understands."
The two also share a soft spot for Filipino food.
"Every Christmas, every Thanksgiving in LA, like all my family's out there. So we'll have like a big Thanksgiving pot luck dinner, Thanksgiving Filipino style -- pancit, kare kare, chicken adobo, everything, even like all the desserts and stuff. I think I just grew up like that, so it's normal to me," Jeron said.
"When he was a baby, I was introduced to Filipino food," Metta World Peace said. "I was first introduced to halo halo. That was one of my favorites. Because when you're 23 years old, you're young and you want sweets. I can't do it now, I'm 39 now, but [when] you want sweets, that was my favorite dish."
Jeron Artest and FilAm Sports USA will try to take home the NBTC National Championship while Metta World Peace will be at the Coaches Convention throughout this week.