Francis Lopez, the youngest among the current batch of Gilas Pilipinas players, is taking his talent to the US after signing with Overtime Elite.
The 18-year old Lopez, who is nicknamed ‘Lebron’ due to his high-flying act similar to that of NBA superstar LeBron James, saw action for the national team during the third and final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. He announced the breakthrough development of his career on his Instagram account.
“I am humbled and grateful to Overtime Elite (OTE) for believing in me and helping me get closer to my dreams. I will work hard to live up to their faith. As OTE leadership said, I will be the first Filipino player to join them. It is an honor that I will not take for granted. I will not let our country down. I will work very hard to represent us well,” wrote Lopez.
“I want to say a special thank you to the people who helped me at the beginning of my journey — Coach Reggie and Coach Tab (Baldwin) and Mr. Al Panlilio and Mr. Pangilinan and the SBP — they saw the spark of potential in a young kid and supported it. I am forever grateful,” he added.
Overtime Elite, a league that offers a year-round development program combining world-class coaching, cutting-edge sports science and performance technologies, top-notch facilities, and a rigorous, highly personalized academic program that energizes and enhances each athlete’s journey from proficiency to pro, announced the signing as well.
“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 OTE EVP and head of basketball operations Brandon Williams during a press release.
“Francis is a young man who has impressed us with both the combination of pure passion for the game and self-improvement, physical athleticism, work ethic, as well as many leadership intangibles. He’s the kind of player we want and expect to thrive at OTE.”
Lopez, who will now forgo his college eligibility, is the first Filipino signee of OTE.