In a heartwarming display of appreciation, Luka Doncic, the prominent Dallas Mavericks star, went above and beyond to give back to the adoring Filipino fans who had passionately supported him during the thrilling culmination of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila.
The grand gesture occurred after Slovenia secured a hard-fought victory against Italy, with a final score of 89-85, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, September 9. Doncic, clearly moved by the unwavering support he received, decided to share his cherished game-worn shoes and the coveted MVP of the Game trophy with some fortunate fans.
Notably, this wasn’t the first instance of Doncic expressing his gratitude towards his devoted supporters. Even before tip-off, he made it a point to engage with fans in the stands, signing their shirts, shoes, jerseys, and various memorabilia. Videos circulating online further captured Doncic’s kindness as he took time to interact with fans who patiently awaited his presence outside their hotel in Pasay City.
“I really appreciate the love. It’s been amazing. So many fans support me,” expressed Doncic, undoubtedly one of the most beloved figures for Filipino basketball enthusiasts throughout the World Cup.
The Mall of Asia Arena witnessed an outpouring of support for Slovenia in each game, with the exuberant Filipino crowd even serenading Doncic with MVP chants.
“It’s been really, really amazing so I really appreciate the love,” he added, acknowledging the fervent backing he received.
Slovenia’s head coach, Aleksander Sekulic, also chimed in, acknowledging the incredible support from the Filipino fans. “We had amazing support. Thanks to the fans who supported us, who made us feel like we play at home. I know that it is mostly because of Luka but we’re taking advantage of this.”
Despite a rocky start that saw Slovenia drop their first two games in Manila, Doncic made a resolute promise to reward the crowd with a victory, and he delivered in style during the final game. He dominated the court, tallying an impressive 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, solidifying his status as a basketball icon both on and off the court.
Luka Doncic’s gracious gesture serves as a testament to the bond between athletes and their fans, transcending borders and cultures, and leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who witnessed his act of kindness.
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