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(C) SLAM Philippines


What’s next for Francis Lopez? Overseas, he bares

Francis Lopez shone brightly during the 2022 SLAM Rising Stars presented by SMART and Anta on Saturday at Gatorade Hoops Center.

Though a man amongst boys, the 19-year-old could not lift Team Punks past Team Noyz in the final, falling 51-48 in the race-to-50 affair. Team Noyz had a three-headed beast in Kean Baclaan, Jonel Policarpio, and Kobe Demisana.

Still, it was an amazing experience for Lopez to finally rejoin his peers.

“It was an amazing experience to get to play with my old teammates and the young guys,” said Lopez, who was able to face the likes of Ian Espinosa and Lebron Nieto during the one-day showcase event.

But it will probably be the last time he will play on home soil for the foreseeable future.

The 6-foot-6 Fil-Nigerian winger bared that there are a lot of overseas offers on the table for him.

Just two months ago, Lopez signed with international agency Siegel Sports & Entertainment, the same agency that handles the likes of Kobe Paras, Juan Gomez de Liano, and Matthew Aquino.

“I’ll probably play overseas. Not OTE because it’s done,” said Lopez, who was supposed to be part of Overtime Elite’s first batch last year but his previous agency could not get his papers done. “My agents are working on it and hopefully this year, I’ll be playing overseas.

“There are many offers. I still have to choose.”

If he gets to play abroad, Lopez stressed that Gilas will still be his priority.

After all, it was in Gilas where he was able to introduce himself to not just a national audience but also international scouts.

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“Gilas will be there. They will respect my decision. Gilas and I have a pretty good relationship and that won’t stop. I’m pretty blessed to be there,” he said.

“It was a huge honor for me to wear the Pilipinas. It’s such an amazing opportunity for me.”

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