<
>

No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green sees perfect fit with Houston's Filipino community

No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green says he is excited to represent the Philippines in the NBA. Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images

There are now three players in NBA history with Filipino descent, but none are as hyped as much as 2021 draft number two overall pick Jalen Romande Green.

Green follows NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson and former Golden State Warrior Raymond Townsend as the trio that have played in the world's best basketball league with Filipino descent.

Green, whose mother traces her roots to Ilocos Sur, is seen as the centerpiece of a rebuilding Houston Rockets squad moving forward.

Houston, Texas has around 150,000 Asians, including around 10,000 with Filipino descent. Green shared that he is ready to represent a country that breathes and lives basketball 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is also not the first time that the Rockets have selected an Asian with a high draft pick. Houston picked Chinese big Yao Ming first overall in 2002, who had a prolific career en route to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I'm always excited to represent the Philippines. So, the fact that there's ties in Houston it's kind of like it was scripted," Green told reporters after being drafted.

"So, I'm excited to take that out there and just represent and put on for the Philippines and can't wait to meet everybody and see the fans. It's going to be exciting," he added.

Green previously visited the Philippines twice as a member of the Fil-Am Select team in the NBTC and played with the country's best high school players in the country.

He also became teammates with Kai Sotto briefly with the NBA G League Ignite team, where he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.

The 19-year-old raved about the opportunity of facing Clarkson, as the two have proudly shared their Filipino heritage numerous times before.

However, Green cannot represent the Philippines as a local player, since he has already played for USA Basketball, unless the federation releases him. Clarkson, on the other hand,is still hoping to be allowed by FIBA.

Nevertheless, the flamboyant guard knows that the nation of 110 million is behind him, and vows to repay that trust with stellar play.

"The Philippines loves me for me. So, I'm just going to keep being myself. I'm going to keep working hard and staying in the gym," assured Green.

"It's not really a responsibility, it's the game I love and they support me, so I just can't wait to get out there and just put on for them. I'm excited," continued the high lottery pick.

Green believes that he can help lead a young squad that also has his former AAU teammate Josh Christopher, Spanish big Usman Garuba, and Kevin Porter, Jr.

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I can bring that dog mentality, that defensive mindset and an exciting part at the same time. They already got a lot of star players, a lot of excitement on the team. I think they're just missing one more piece and I think I can fulfill that," said Green.

Green already has his sights on the NBA Rookie of the Year award, and much more moving forward.

"Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract, we're doing it big, so, yeah," mentioned Green.