Even all-stars get starstruck upon seeing other athletes.
That’s what Alyssa Valdez experienced when she encountered the up and coming stars of the National Basketball Association.
The volleyball superstar visited the practice session for the Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars Challenge where she met Jarrett Allen and Deandre Ayton.
Formerly known as the Rookie Challenge, the Rising Stars Challenge was established in 1994 to showcase the best rookies and sophomores in the league. Players are divided into two: Team USA or the American-born players and Team World for international talent.
Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, was the first over-all draft choice of the 2018 NBA Draft and currently plays for the Phoenix Suns. The 7′ 1″ Power Forward/Center bannered Team World with Lauri Markannen of the Chicago Bulls, Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Valdez also had a photo with Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets who is part of Team USA. Competing with the 6′ 11″ center are Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.
But the highlight of the day came when Valdez and Gretchen Ho met sensational Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic.
The 18-year-old forward helped his nation Slovenia win the 2018 European Basketball Championship while taking MVP honors himself. He is the front runner for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award this season by averaging 20.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per contest.
Aside from being an exceptional talent, it helps that Doncic also has matinee idol looks.
The two-time UAAP and two-time Premiere Volleyball League champion was able to witness the Rising Stars Challenge itself which Team USA won, 161-144.
The Creamline Cool Smashers team captain also had a photo opportunity with Ho at the press conference table for the Rising Stars.
Alyssa Valdez did have an eventful weekend in Charlotte. But that doesn’t tell the whole story yet. Still in store are All-Star Saturday and the 68th NBA All-Star Game itself.
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