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Lakers' Reaves reminisces 'rock-star treatment' during FIBA World Cup in Manila

Alder Almo - Philstar.com
Lakers' Reaves reminisces 'rock-star treatment' during FIBA World Cup in Manila
Austin Reaves gestures during Team USA's opener against New Zealand at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday.
Philstar.com/EC Toledo

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – The FIBA World Cup experience with Team USA in Manila last year left an indelible mark on the Los Angeles Lakers’ rising star Austin Reaves. 

Reaves could not forget the hospitality of the Filipinos during his first trip to the Philippines as he singled out their hotel in Manila as the best accommodation he had experienced during his Team USA stint, which included trips to the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

“The Shangri La Hotel in Manila [is the best hotel I’ve stayed in outside the country],” Reaves told this writer in a one-on-one interview to discuss his “Perfect 10” episode with Hotels.com, the official hotel partner of the NBA. “Just the experience that we had as a group. The staff members who were working in the hotel made it, honestly, one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. Just interacting with all of them and kind of seeing the different styles of life. They were really the MVPs of that trip because they took care of literally everything that we needed.”

“If we needed anything, they brought to the room. They were on top of it as fast as they could. So just the experience there and the workers that they had in their place, it’s one of the best places I've ever stayed in,” Reaves continued.

The Lakers guard played a key role for Team USA that went unbeaten until the quarterfinal round. Eventual FIBA World Cup champion Germany knocked them out of medal contention in the semifinals with a nail-biting 113-111 win.

Despite the forgettable loss, the trip became memorable for Reaves because of the rock-star reception he experienced. 

“The crazy thing was that Phil [Handy], one of our assistant coaches, told me how big the Lakers were over there,” Reaves said. “And I kind of was like, okay, cool, like so I knew a little bit what it was gonna be like, but I didn't really know exactly how big the Lakers were. I mean [Lakers fans were] everywhere. I tried to go outside the hotel, there were people who would like jerseys, chant and cheer my name and stuff like that. So, it was a super cool experience for me. And, it was, like I said, something I'll never forget.”

Reaves stars in one of the episodes of the fourth season of “Perfect 10” from Hotels.com, a digital series that challenges personalities from sports, TV, film, music, food and fashion to answer 10-rapid-fire questions that reveal personal stories in three-minute episodes. 

The Lakers guard joined Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler and Emmy-nominated ESPN host Malika Andrews in a star-studded cast. 

To shop the personal recommendations from Reaves and the other “Perfect 10” experts, download the Hotels.com app. The series has already amassed 88 million views to date, with a fifth season in production. 

Reaves and the Lakers will face Jokic and the defending champion Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs which begins on Saturday (Sunday Manila time). 

 

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Alder Almo is a former senior sportswriter for Philstar.com and NBA.com Philippines. He is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey, and writes for the New York-based website Heavy.com.

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