A basketball move originating from the Philippines has quietly but distinctly infiltrated the NBA, with players like Tyrese Haliburton, Zach LaVine and Mikal Bridges incorporating the deceptive maneuver into their offensive arsenals.
What it is: The move, known as the “Pinoy Step,” is characterized by a pump fake during the initial steps of a drive toward the basket. Unlike the Euro Step or Yugo Step, this maneuver adds a shot fake at the beginning of the gather, creating a deceptive sequence that throws off defenders.
How it’s done: The Pinoy Step involves a sequence of movements, including driving and gathering momentum, executing a quick pump fake to freeze defenders, taking a small step towards the basket, and finally, capitalizing on the momentary confusion to score with a layup or shot. Its effectiveness lies in the deceptive nature of the pump fake, creating a window of opportunity for offensive players against even elite defenders.
Who’s doing it: NBA players such as Tyrese Haliburton, Zach LaVine and Mikal Bridges have seamlessly integrated the move into their playing styles.
The Chicago Bulls’ LaVine, facing challenges with finishing at the rim after recovering from knee surgery, innovated by incorporating the Pinoy Step into his repertoire last year.
The Indiana Pacers’ Haliburton would later credit LaVine for popularizing the move during an interview at “The Old Man and The Three podcast w/ JJ Redick,” emphasizing its utility in throwing off defenders’ timing and drawing fouls.
Who’s behind it: Filipino basketball stars Kiefer Ravena and Jericho Cruz are credited with the move’s origins, with Cruz taking to social media to express pride in seeing it embraced on the global stage.
Cruz, who plays for the San Miguel Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association, reshared a post about Haliburton’s Pinoy Step execution on his Instagram.
Ravena, who plays as a point guard for the Shiga Lakes of Japan’s B2 League, talked about the evolution of the move in an interview with Nets Daily:
“Sometimes, I would get called traveling, because I would catch refs off guard. And sometimes I would really travel because I hadn’t perfected the timing of it. I feel like it can be really effective against athletic and good rim protectors. With elite rim protectors, they know how to time lay-ups, floaters, and jump-shots, so you have to do a bit of mix-up, and that’s where the move becomes very effective.”
Gaining NBA lexicon status: While the Pinoy Step hasn’t quite reached the level of widespread recognition as the Euro Step yet, this Filipino footwork may soon find its permanent place in basketball’s lexicon. Media coverage, coaching interest and its inherent offensive value all point towards a bright future for this deceptive dribble move.