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Rising Star: Seeing the future first

For an understanding of the future, look to the past.

The SLAM Rising Stars Classic has always been and always will be about the future. The. Future.

The future college stars, remixing their own versions of the rivalries. The future Gilas Men’s icons, suiting up with PILIPINAS on their chests. The future of Philippine basketball, continuing the bloodline of a sacred lineage.

Eight years ago, the vision was clear: a select few, poised to remix and represent, will carry the tag “Rising Star” then dutifully pass it on to the next. It’s a rite of passage; both tradition and transition. Eight years into the future, it now looks like this. High school players are packaged like college stars. (One of them already with Gilas battle scars.) Their moves are set to the today’s beat of now yet yesterday’s influences are definitely there.

Watch Kean Baclaan and there are traces of don’t-give-a-f*ck DNA we’ve seen oozing out of RJ Abarrientos. There are hints of Balti Baltazar’s muted dominance in the game of 2022 Risings Stars MVP Poli Policarpio. John Rey Pasaol has that familiar killer instinct that’s hereditary, sure, but also reminiscent of someone like LJay Gonzales. Ethan Alian’s got Juan Gomez de Liaño’s swag. Kobe Demisana got a bit of Kai Sotto’s height. Take all the freakishly athletic parts of Ricci Rivero and Thirdy Ravena, lock it up in the weight room, and you’ve got Francis Lopez.

They’re all right there, little bits and pieces of Rising Stars history, making sure they’re being honored and remembered.

This year’s Rising Stars looked different in that there were four team colors and more buckets to go around. Instead of just one game, there were a couple. Game clocks turned off, pick-up game roots turned on. Funky times demanded a change like this.

The future is forever changing, even if we see it first in these next generation of hoopers. But the SLAM Rising Stars Classic is also about giving love to what and who came before it. That’s the only way to pay respects to the game; the only way to define the future.

Keep it locked in on SLAM Philippines Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for the 2022 SLAM Rising Stars Classic Tournament Mixtapes. Coming out soon.