Stars collide

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


THE 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup takes a six-day break starting today to pave the way for the 2014 All-Stars Weekend from April 3 to 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

After the All-Stars break, the elimination round of the Commissioner's Cup will resume on April 9 featuring San Mig Coffee against Air 21 at 5:45 pm. and Talk 'N Text versus Rain or Shine at 8 p.m. in the Araneta Coliseum.

All the top players in the professional league will compete in various events like the three-point shootout, skills competition and slam dunk contest.

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Highlighting the annual gathering is the encounter between PBA Greats against Stalwarts and Skills Challenge on April 4, while the PBA Stars test the mettle of Gilas Pilipinas on April 6.

Other activities include basketball clinics, hospital visits, medical visits, meet and greet, referee clinics and coaches clinics by the most winningest coach Tim Cone of San Mig Coffee Mixers.

The Sunday Gilas Pilipinas-All Stars showdown, which will serve as the centerpiece event, will also have members of the national team playing in full force for the first time as they prepare for the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in November.
Coach Chot Reyes' National squad played together for the last time in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship, where they finished runner up to Iran.

The PBA selection, headed by this year's top rookie Greg Slaughter and reigning MVP Arwind Santos vowed a tough battle before an expected thousands of fans.

“We haven't seen Gilas Pilipinas in action for about eight months. I think this is a good chance for the fans to see them in action,” said PBA board chairman Ramon Segismundo.

Aside from Santos and Slaughter, the PBA All-Stars, which will be coached by Tim Cone are two-time MVP James Yap, last season's Rookie of the Year Calvin Abueva, and former Smart Gilas team members Mark Barroca and Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Chris Ellis, Sonny Thoss, Joe Devance, Nino Canaleta and Peter June Simon.

This will also be the first time the annual event is going to be held in Manila since the 2003 edition held at the Araneta Coliseum. Last year, Gilas Pilipinas also played in the All-Star game against a similar PBA selection, which ended in a 124-standoff in Digos, Davao del Sur.

The skills competition such as the slamdunk contest, three-point shootout, and obstacle challenge on Friday will be capped by the game between Team Greats and Team Stalwarts, composed of PBA legends and current players.

All participants will also visit the San Lazaro Hospital and Hospicio de San Jose, while on Saturday, a fun run and meet and greet event are going to be held at the SM San Lazaro and SM Bicutan to be capped by a street party at the MOA grounds.

Members of the Gilas Pilipinas training pool are Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Larry Fonacier of Talk 'N Text; Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee, and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine; Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel; Gary David and Jared Dillinger of Meralco; June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer; and Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee; and naturalized center Marcus Douthit.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 03, 2014.

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