Gilas Pilipinas’ player LeBron Lopez has officially turned pro after inking a deal with the new US Pro League Overtime Elite (OTE).
The fledgling league announced Lopez’s inclusion through their website on Tuesday (US Time).
“We’re delighted to have Lebron join the OTE family as we expand our international reach, bringing in top talent from across the globe,” said Brandon Williams, OTE EVP, Head of Basketball Operations.
Though the 18-year-old’s move surprised the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), they’re still happy with the outcome and hope Lopez gets the chance to play for the National Basketball Association (NBA).
“We are hoping that his pathway to the NBA will be successful,” Ryan Gregorio, who serves as Special Assistant to SBP President Al Panlilio, said in a report from Inquirer.
“We are hoping that when his country calls him, he will be available,” Gregorio added.
Lopez was among the players who battled against Indonesia last month in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, where he showed his might on the basketball court.
The young player contributed a total of eight points, five rebounds, one assist, a block, and a steal in the last quarter of the 76-51 pummeling of Indonesia.
According to OTE head coach and former NBA veteran Kevin Oillie, he sees promise in Lopez.
“Francis is a high-flyer with his ability to play above the rim,” Ollie said.
“We’re building a program for him that will develop his game more completely so that he can achieve his dream of a professional career and as a leader on the Philippines national team for years to come.”
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Image credit: Gilas Pilipinas’ Official Facebook Page