Houston's Jeremy Lin is center of attention in Philippines

Jeremy Lin, an American of Taiwanese descent, is surrounded by reporters during a break in the Houston Rockets' practice session in Manila, Philippines.



MANILA, Philippines — Linsanity is gripping the Philippines.

Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s first American-born player of Taiwanese descent, stole the spotlight Tuesday as the Houston Rockets practiced for the first NBA preseason game in the basketball-obsessed country.

Lin was mobbed by reporters and photographers on a Manila basketball court, a day after the Rockets and Indiana Pacers arrived in the capital for Thursday’s game.

Lin is thankful for a chance “to inspire people, especially my fellow Asians.”

“I’m excited to play here and in Taiwan,” he said. “I think the fans don’t get a chance to often watch an NBA game live, so hopefully they’ll really enjoy the experience and I think we’re going to definitely enjoy it as well.”

Lin said he’s had a taste of the “electric environment” of the Philippines, which tops the list of countries outside the U.S. following the NBA on Facebook and Twitter.

Lin said his Taiwanese parents told him good things about the Philippines.

“I’m glad to see and feel the warmth they showed to me in person when I got the chance to walk in the mall last night. Everyone was polite, respectful and I was really blown away,” he said.

BULLS: While Derrick Rose gets back to form on the basketball court, his teammates are busy adjusting to playing alongside their leader again.

It’s kind of like riding a bike for the Bulls’ veterans, assuming that bike travels at the speed of a Maserati.

Rose scored 13 points Monday in a 106-87 exhibition win over the Memphis Grizzlies, playing his allotted 23 minutes.


HEAT: For the first time in 20 years, the NBA season does not come with an NBA uniform for the veteran forward Juwan Howard, who instead finds himself as an assistant coach at the Miami Heat training camp.

“It’s not an easy transition because, to be honest with you, I’m just removed as a player back in June, so you still feel the jitters when you see that ball bouncing this time of year,” said Howard,