Sorry, but Yao Ming won't be playing

As far as Yao Ming’s basketball career is concerned, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The Chinese basketball icon confirmed Sunday that he won’t be suiting up when the Shanghai Sharks tangle two local squads in a pair of exhibition matches at the Mall of Asia Arena and also at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

“I no longer have a uniform with the team, and my past injuries keep me from playing,” said the towering 7-foot-6 center through an interpreter in a press conference at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Pasay City.

The top overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Yao made a good account of himself as a Houston Rocket, helping the team reach four post-season appearances before abruptly retiring in 2011 due to a spate of nagging foot injuries.

But two years before hanging up his sneakers, the eight-time NBA All-Star already brought the Sharks since his former club was facing the specter of not playing in the Chinese Basketball Association due to financial woes.

RELATED: Yao Ming arrives in Manila for Friendship Games

Now, Yao is contented in dealing with the business side of the game while serving as the sport’s “global ambassador.”

Asked to comment on the ongoing NBA playoffs, the Chinese superstar picked the defending champion Miami Heat and four-time champion San Antonio Spurs to meet in the NBA Finals, although he wouldn't say which team would win it all.

Spearheaded by national team skipper Liu Wei and promising 6-foot-11 center Zheng Yali, the Sharks first test the mettle of Gilas Pilipinas on Monday at the MOA Arena then square off with the PBA Selection, handled by Air21 coach Franz Pumaren, at the Big Dome on Tuesday.

Organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Chinese Embassy, the pair of exhibition games “can only bring our countries closer together through sports,” according to Yao.

With the arrival of Yao and the Sharks, PSC chairman Richie Garcia sounded confident more Chinese teams will set foot in the country, saying: “We hope this will just be a start for many Chinese teams to visit our country for friendly matches.”

Shanghai coach Wang Qun, meanwhile, wouldn’t divulge too much about their game plan, saying: “It’s a secret, or I can’t coach tomorrow. I can only say that tomorrow will be an exciting game.”

The Sharks, including Yao, also conducted a basketball clinic at the Philsports Arena Sunday afternoon and paid a courtesy call to Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation
    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …

  • Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea
    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippines on Sunday urged its fellow Southeast Asian countries to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area. …

  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

  • President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit
    President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit

    The Philippine president said Sunday he would appeal for mercy for a Filipina who is due to be executed in Indonesia in two days' time. President Benigno Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, who is due to be put to death on Tuesday, while in Malaysia for a regional summit Monday. "Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case," Aquino said. She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms …

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • Beijing 'poised to take de facto control' of S. China Sea'
    Beijing 'poised to take de facto control' of S. China Sea'

    Beijing is poised to take "de facto control" of the South China Sea, the Philippines warned Sunday, but its call for a robust Southeast Asian response at a regional summit was shot down. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic body of water, but Beijing claims nearly all of it, and its increasingly strident territorial assertions have caused concern in the region and beyond. "(China) is poised to consolidate de facto control of the South China Sea," …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options