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Ex-NBA star Artest wants Fil-Am son to play for Gilas Pilipinas

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Ex-NBA star Artest wants Fil-Am son to play for Gilas Pilipinas
NBA great Metta World Peace grace the EASL drawing of lots Tuesday as he joins (from left) PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, EASL CEO Matt Beyer, KBL commissioner Kim Hee Ok, and B. League chairman Shinji Shimada
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MANILA, Philippines — NBA champion Metta Sandiford-Artest, previously known as Ron Artest and Metta World Peace, said that he wanted his son, a Filipino-American, to suit up for the Philippine national team.

During the group draw of the East Asia Super League, where Artest is an ambassador, the 42-year-old spoke of his connection to the Philippines and how he would love for his kin to don the Gilas Pilipinas jersey.

"My son is half-Filipino, Jeron Artest. And hopefully one day he can play for the Filipino national team," Artest said.

"He recently quit basketball because he's doing some computer science development software — he's a smart kid. But with that being said, just being here in Manila, it means a lot to me because my son is a half Filipino," he continued.

Artest won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, his lone title in a colorful career in the professional hoops league.

He was also an NBA All-Star, an All-NBA Third Team member, and was crowned NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.

Artest also expressed optimism in the upcoming EASL, where two teams from the PBA will compete in an eight-team contest that was divided in to two groups of four.

The groups were determined in the group draw at the Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig on Tuesday.

"I'm really excited that a lot of the Asian countries are coming together playing basketball. Just playing in the NBA brought in my fanbase to Asia also, so I'm really honored to be here," said Artest.

"It's a huge opportunity for a player like myself to have a fanbase not only in America but a huge fanbase in Asia and that has a lot to do with the NBA so I'm super grateful and I'm really excited to see the games, it seems like it's gonna be really good games right here in Manila," he added.

Along with Artest, another NBA player who serves as ambassador of the EASL is Fil-Am guard Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets.

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