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It’s an exciting time for basketball fans in Metro Cebu. Not long after Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks demolished the Phoenix Suns in their Game 7 matchup on May 16 (PH time), fans took to social media already sharing how they felt about the Mavs’ chances in the next—and last round—before the NBA Finals.
Waiting for Dončić and the Mavericks? The battle-tested Golden State Warriors led by the half-court, do-it-all trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Much to the delight of basketball fans in the metropolis, Cebu has hosted several pocket basketball tournaments that started during the pandemic and are still ongoing. Now, the noise moves from the rowdy courts and on to social media feeds. With the national elections finally over, the news cycles have moved on from political essays to play-by-play takes from devoted fans of the game.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock all these years, you probably agree that basketball is not just a sport here in the country; it’s a lifestyle.
Here are the final four teams meeting up in the Conference Finals of the 2022 NBA Playoffs:
Miami Heat (East)
The Miami Heat is no stranger to Filipino basketball junkies. Not only did the “greatest basketball player” of this generation, LeBron James, offered his talents to South Beach some years ago, but its championship coach Erik Spoelstra is of Filipino descent from his mother’s side. Filipinos have a lot to be proud of: Spoelstra is the first Asian-American head coach in the history of the four major North American sports leagues.
This year, the Jimmy Butler-led Heat squad are out to prove that their Finals appearance during the 2020 NBA Bubble was no fluke.
Boston Celtics (East)
The Boston Celtics is a storied team with the heritage and championships to prove their elite franchise in the NBA. The Celtics currently have 17 championships—tied with the Los Angeles Lakers—spanning from its first win in 1957 and their last one in 2008.
It’s been more than 10 years now since Boston enjoyed a championship year under the stellar play of its stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. While this new Boston team is filled with young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they necessarily have the experience to go all the way to the final round.
Golden State Warriors (West)
Here is a team that needs little introduction. Ever since the Golden State Warriors burst into the scene with its brand of basketball in the 2010s, the whole league went through a change, and the world followed suit. Suddenly, the 3-pointer was the priority shot. The Warriors showed that playing “small-ball” could earn a club some wins, and eventually some championships.
This year, the Warriors will face their biggest challenge yet—beat their opponents in the Western Conference Finals and move on to the championship round with their new small ball “death line up” is Curry, Thompson, Green and young scorer and playmaker Jordan Poole.
Dallas Mavericks (West)
The Dallas Mavericks won its first championship in 2011 by beating the Lebron James-led Miami Heat. Dallas was led then by German star Dirk Nowitzki. It was a sweet win for Nowitzki as he chose to stay with the Mavs all those years, ever since he first played with them in 1998.
The current Mavs line-up is now led by basketball phenom, Slovenian basketball player Luka Dončić. Dončić is just in his fourth year in the league and has yet to hit peak form. Will history be kinder to Dončić? Only time will tell.
The first game of the Conference Finals will be on May 18, 8:30 a.m. (PH time) featuring Boston vs. Miami. Dallas and Golden State will meet up the following day, 9 a.m.
Expect Pinoys on social media to root hard among these four basketball teams.