HYPE BEST | Knowa Lazarus lends hip-hop flair to FIBA 3×3 World Cup

BOCAUE – “It’s good!”

For every made basket, for five straight days and for almost a hundred games, the now-familiar catchphrase reverberated inside the Philippine Arena for the entire duration of the FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

The man behind the signature phrase is Knowa Lazarus, one-half of the multi-awarded hip-hop duo Q-York.

Since Day 1 of the competitions, Knowa has been spicing up the games with his hip-hop-inspired play calls. With his creativity and wordplay expertise, Knowa sure knows how to hype up every crossover dribble, two-pointer, acrobatic layup or highlight-reel dunk.

Dull moments were rare occurences in the World Cup. During every timeout and stoppage of play due to challenges, the renowned songwriter and artist continued to urge the pro-Filipino crowd to get louder.

One of FIBA’s resident MC for years now, Knowa was ecstatic when word came that the annual halfcourt showpiece will finally be staged in his home country, the Philippines.

“Amazing, especially to be here sa Pilipinas and to watch our Philippine teams play in both men’s and women’s (divisions). Grabe yung lakas ng puso. I feel it in my heart. I try to help bring that energy and I feed off that,” he said.

Knowa was a basketball player back in high school, but music lured him to a different career path. Together with his partner Flava Matikz, Q-York produced a dozen of records and have received numerous music awards.

According to Knowa, “I was a basketball player growing up. I played in high school but then I got into music. I always tell myself ‘Sayang’. I practice everyday but I never made a career out of it. Pero ngayon, it’s funny because it comes together – music and sports.”

With games starting at around 11 AM, Knowa calls games for almost eight hours straight inside the cavernous Bocaue stadium. Even Knowa is astonished how he keeps up with the strenuous task of announcing all the games and side events for FIBA 3×3.

“I feel like I was built for this. I have done music my whole life so I know music very well, but I also know basketball. I got discovered by FIBA through music. When they got me to MC a basketball game, sakto lang. Parang perfect fit. I know how to hype it up with the music and I know the sport,” Knowa shared.

For Knowa, it’s all about feeding off energy from the crowd, who came in droves despite the heavy rains.

“It’s a circle of inspiration. I feed off the game. I try to highlight the game and the players and do my best there. But when the crowd has the energy, I give energy and they give it back. It just keeps growing and it’s infinite. Just living in that moment na parang bata,” Knowa said.

His outlook on 3×3 basketball is as lively as the beats that engulfed the Philippine Arena for five days.

“I think it’s growing. It’s now an Olympic discipline. It’s a different way to look at basketball. There are career options in 3×3, and I wish I had that growing up. It’s gonna be huge,” Knowa beamed with pride.

His Finals bet for the on-going World Cup? “(For the Men’s), I think team Serbia. They are all true and tested, and now they have added (Stefan) Stojacic, that adds a new dimension. Women’s side, I would have to go with USA. They might be low-seeded, but they have the athleticism and skills.”

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