FIBA Recognizes LeBron Lopez de Gilas as ‘The Prodigy to Watch’ in 2022
LeBron Lopez proves the hype surrounding him is entirely justified, with FIBA noting ‘it’s easy to see why there would be a lot of anticipation’ to see the 18-year-old in action again
MANILA, Philippines — Filipino basketball fans have known for a while now that Gilas Pilipinas prospect Francis “LeBron” Lopez may be the next big thing, and now even FIBA has jumped in on the action. trendy train by naming him a “child prodigy to watch out for” in 2022.
After all, the 18-year-old’s potential was tantalizing enough to warrant a spot in the national team at his age, which immediately landed him a six-figure professional contract with Overtime Elite (OTE) in the United States.
“With these accomplishments and a more than recognizable nickname like ‘LeBron,’ it’s easy to see why there would be a lot of anticipation to see Lopez back on the pitch for the Philippines,” the FIBA post said.
“Although he couldn’t make his debut in the [OTE] league for now, it will only be a matter of time before we get to see the top-flight youngster show off his skills.
In the limited moments Lopez saw the pitch, however, he made it clear why the hype surrounding him and his game is entirely justified.
In his national team debut in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, the former member of the legendary UAAP boys’ basketball team had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in just 10 minutes of a 76-51 Gilas blowout against Indonesia.
Even in his lone high school season with Ateneo in 2019, the 6-foot-5 monster athlete proved to be a man among the boys with averages of 16 points, 9.2 rebounds and a staggering record 3 blocks in just under 26 minutes. per game.
“I’m so proud and happy that he got this opportunity to show his talents and skills on an international level,” said his former high school coach Reggie Varilla, who also mentored NBA aspirant Kai Sotto.
“I am delighted to see that our local talents are now recognized around the world. This bodes well for the future of Philippine basketball. Moreover, it gives inspiration to our aspiring basketball players and hope that they can perform on a bigger stage,” he continued.
It’s unclear how high the former Blue Eaglet can spread his wings in professional and international basketball competitions, but as the game’s governing body has just said, it will only be a matter of time. – Rappler.com