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Reigning French league champion to play basketball friendlies vs. PH squads

Top NBA prospect Victor Wembanyama is among LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne's current stars. Getty Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--The current kings of the French basketball circuit will be visiting the Philippines for a series of basketball games, including a showdown against Gilas Pilipinas.

LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, the reigning 20-time Betclic Elite Pro A champion, will be in town from Aug. 31-Sept. 4 for a three-game friendly event.

According to a statement sent to media outfits on Wednesday, the basketball exhibition is organized by the PBA and Lyon-Villeurbanne "to celebrate a shared love of sports in view of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The said event is part of the 75th-anniversary celebration of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and France.

Lyon-Villeurbanne will first test the mettle of Blackwater on Aug. 31 and will then face the Bay Area Dragons of the EASL on Sept. 2 before taking on Gilas on Sept. 4.

In the press launch of the Philippine-France diplomatic relations anniversary at the Ayala Museum, Bossing team owner Dioceldo Sy said the Gilas-Lyon game will serve as a gauge of Gilas' readiness against tough teams with one year left before hosting the FIBA World Cup.

"This will give our Philippine team a show to see how good they are in basketball," Sy said.

He then bared that all the games will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, and he added that the exhibition games are planned to be a sidelight for the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

"We're very fortunate that they will be played as the first game of a doubleheader in the finals series of the PBA," Sy revealed, further saying that the games will be aired live on TV5.

Currently owned by NBA legend Tony Parker and being coached by his younger brother TJ, Lyon-Villeurbanne boasts a solid lineup comprising of Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of current NBA superstar Giannis, and Victor Wembanyama, who this early is being projected as high as the number one pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Lyon-Villeurbanne is seeking a 21st French league title and is currently in the finals against AS Monaco.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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