Pacers respond for the Philippines

Roy Hibbert
Published: .
Updated: .

It was only a month ago when the Indiana Pacers were playing before capacity crowds in Manila. A lot has changed in that time, but the Pacers have not forgotten. They proved it today.

"We are here live in Manila. We are looking forward to our experience here!" the first Pacer off the bus in Manila exclaimed.

"Happy to be here. Get settled, take a shower," Roy Hibbert added as he walked through the team's hotel.

The Pacers spent four days in the Philippines during the team's week-long Asian excursion in October. It gave the team an opportunity to work with special Olympians and play pre-season games against the Houston Rockets in front of capacity crowds.

"Sorry for the loses over there. They are great people. They love basketball. I am sorry to hear about the tragedies going on over there," Hibbert said after Thursday's practice session.

So when Indianapolis First Lady Winnie Ballard, a Filipino native, sounded the call for donations for her homeland, the Pacers were quick to answer.

"The people were so nice and so welcoming. Really an extraordinary experience while we were there," said Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports and Entertainment.

The Pacers Foundation donated $50,000 to relief efforts through the United Nations World Food Programme. The experience was one the team and the country clearly enjoyed. In fact, an exhibition game with the Houston Rockets attracted a sell-out crowd of nearly 13,000 fans.

"Everybody I met at the Philippines were some of the nicest people I have ever met. Really friendly atmosphere over there and just great people so I am happy to see us make a donation like that and help out," Pacer Head Coach Frank Vogel said.

Only a month has passed since the Pacers played there and much has changed for the team and the country.

First Lady Winnie Ballard is asking Hoosiers to donate to either the Red Cross, United Way or United Nations World Food Programme.

Learn how you can help.