FOLLOWING a successful leg in Mindanao on Wednesday, the week-long Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Star Game festivities swing back to Luzon for the second stop today in Lucena, Quezon.
Taking place at the Quezon Convention Center, it is now time for the Luzon All-Stars to test the Gilas Pilipinas pool, which is preparing for the Southeast Asian Basketball Championship next month, in the main event.
The Luzon All-Stars, coached by San Miguel’s Leo Austria, is made up of Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, TNT’s Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo, San Miguel’s Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, Rain or Shine’s Jay Washington, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle and Star’s Paul Lee.
They will battle the Gilas pool of Matthew Wright and Norbert Torres (Phoenix), Bradwyn Guinto (NLEX), Carl Bryan Cruz (Alaska), Kevin Ferrer (Barangay Ginebra), Mike Tolomia and Raymond Almazan (Rain or Shine), Arnold Van Opstal (San Miguel), Ed Daquioag and Jonathan Grey (Meralco), Almond Vosotros (free agent) and Allein Maliksi (Star).
In the Mindanao leg of the All-Star Game last Wednesday in Cagayan de Oro, Gilas was forced by the Chito Victolero-coached Mindanao PBA stars to a deadlock with the final score knotted at 114-all.
Mark Barroca of the Star Hotshots hit a game-tying three-pointer in the closing seconds of the contest to complete their comeback from 12 points down in the fourth period and force the tie.
TNT KaTropa’s Troy Rosario of the Mindanao team led all scorers with 28 points while Gilas’ Wright had a team-high 22. Both players were named co-most valuable players after the game.
Meanwhile, the Lucena stop of the three-leg 2017 PBA All-Star Game festivities will also feature popular skills challenges, namely the slam dunk competition, three-point competition and obstacle challenge.
Mahindra’s Rey Guevarra will try to win his fourth straight slam dunk title against a field that includes Justin Melton of Star, Chris Newsome of Meralco and JC Intal of Phoenix.
Three-point king Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, for his part, goes for a three-peat versus the likes of Chris Tiu (Rain or Shine), Gary David (Mahindra) and Mr. Tenorio (Barangay Ginebra).
The obstacle challenge, meanwhile, will see Rain or Shine’s Maverick Ahanmisi defend his crown against a field that includes Alaska’s Simon Enciso, Barangay Ginebra’s Sol Mercado and Phoenix’s RJ Jazul.
A highlight as well of the Lucena event is the naming of national coach Chot Reyes of the final 12 players that will be part of the Gilas team seeing action in the SEABA Championship in May here in the country.
The three-leg PBA All-Star Week culminates on Sunday in Cebu. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo