PINAY AMONG NBA DANCERS AT SM MEGAMALL SHOW JULY 5 AND 6

Manila, June 27, 2003 By Joaquin Henson (Star)  Filipina Audrey Michelle Asprec is among six Golden State Warriors dancers arriving here next Wednesday to perform at the grand finale of the National Basketball Association (NBA) "Madness" tour in the SM Megamall on July 5 and 6.

Asprec, 24, joined the Warrior Girls in the 2001-02 season and is a member of the New Style Motherlode, one of the hottest Bay Area Dance companies. The University of California at Davis graduate has logged over 10 years of dance training in ballet, modern, hip-hop and jazz. She works full-time as an assistant teacher for gifted students in special education when not dancing.

In college, Asprec was an active participant in the annual spring dance concert and choreographed the multi-cultural Filipino festival on campus. The 5-1, 105-pound pixie has danced in several special events for the MCI World Com and Southwest Airlines, among others.

Joining Asprec in the Manila visit are Warrior Girls dance team director Shelby Alexander, Katie Wells, Sanae Tomita, Nicole King and Jen Testa.

NBA Asia marketing manager Carlo Singson said the Warrior Girls will perform their routine and conduct a dancing clinic as a highlight of the sixth and final stop of the "Madness" tour. They will be available to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans in their skimpy outfits. The Warrior Girls will also appear at a press conference and meet the NBA’s local partners, clients, and associates at a dinner where league officials are expected to announce major plans for the Philippine market.

Filipinas are often recruited to join NBA dance teams because of their grace, beauty and dancing skills. During the Michael Jordan era, the Chicago Bulls’ dance team called the Luvabulls were bannered by four Filipinas–Liza Ramos, Elaine Ramirez, Rachelle Ko, and Josefina Yanong. The New York Knicks’ City Dancers featured a Filipina, Sara Corona Reynolds, in their cast during the NBA All-Star Game in 1998. A popular Warrior Girl a few years ago was a Filipina, Emily Jose.

Dancing for the Warrior Girls is a plum job. Hundreds of talented dancers apply for a spot in yearly tryouts. This past season, there were only 17 picked by Alexander who danced six years for the Houston Rockets Power Dancers before joining the Warriors in 2000. The Warrior Girls rehearse thrice a week and meet two hours before tip-off on game nights to perfect their act.

Wells is the Warrior Girls captain and is a World Arts and Culture degree holder from UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). She works for a San Francisco financial institution by day and dances by night.

Tomita was born in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated at the International Christian University in Tokyo with a sociology degree. She worked at the NBA Japan office before joining the Warrior Girls last year.

King has been dancing for 19 years and used to participate in dance competitions with the San Jose hip-hop team Sheri’s Born to Dance and Phaze 2. She joined the Warrior Girls in 1999.

Testa was the first dancer and cheerleader ever from high school to be chosen as a Dance All-Star to perform in Europe. She is the manager and buyer for a popular dance retail chain in the Northern Bay Area and is training to become an instructor of salsa, cha-cha and tango.

The "Madness" tour started last May 30 and has attracted huge crowds in malls in Bacoor, Bicutan, and San Fernando, Pampanga.

In Bacoor, the SM mall was jampacked as fans enjoyed a thrilling slamdunk contest which saw 360-degree spins and thundering throwdowns with a 9-foot hoop. In San Fernando, former pro import Bobby Parks–who once played for the Atlanta Hawks in the preseason–participated in a long distance shootout and lost on a 12-11 count to a hotshooting Pampango fan.

Singson said the final leg at the SM Megamall on July 4-6 will cap the six-stop tour with a bang. Aside from the Warrior Girls’ performance, Singson said there will be a 2-ball competition among media representatives, a chance for fans to cover an NBA game in a simulated broadcast, and lots of opportunities to win NBA merchandise and prizes.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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