Fajardo vs. Slaughter

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


THE Philippine national team, better known as Gilas Pilipinas, starts its preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup when it battles PBA All-Stars Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Multi-titled coach Tim Cone, who will call the shots for the PBA selection, stressed that the centerpiece event of the All-Stars Weekend will be a tough defensive battle to test the skills of the national squad, which will be playing as a complete team for the fi rst time since placing runner-up in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship won by Iran last year.

“It's going to be a tough defensive battle. This is an important game. We’re here for the Gilas team. We’re here to try to get them better and prepare them for their journey to Spain, which is going to be a thrill for all of us,” said the most winningest team in the proleague with 16 titles to his fold.

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Better prepared

The last time coach Chot Reyes’ Gilas team played against a PBA Selection was in the 2013 PBA All-Stars held in Digos, Davao Del Sur, which ended in a 124-all tie courtesy of Jeff Chan's triple less than a second left in regulation.

“They (Gilas) will be playing more prepared this time. We’ll be out there to compete and challenge them,” added Cone, also the head coach of the Philippine national team.

Aside from the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain this August, the Gilas Pilipinas will also see action in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in September.

“We’re here for the fans, that's No. 1. And No. 2, we’re also here for Gilas and help them to get better, so that's going to be our approach to this basketball game. We’re here for them. Rather than think about ourselves, we have to think about that team. Think about how to help them get better for their journey to Spain, which is going to be a thrill for all of us,” he pointed out.

Composing the PBA All-Stars line up are Arwind Santos, Greg Slaughter, 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.

“The All-Star Game is an opportunity to coach players you've never coached before. In the early years, I looked forward to coaching players such as Alvin Patrimonio and Vergel Meneses because they were playing for opposing teams and I only got the chance to coach them in the All-Star game. Now, I have the chance of handling players like Greg Slaughter and Chris Ellis as well as Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos, added Cone.

They will be playing against Gilas Pilipinas training pool members 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, Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee and naturalized 6’11” center Marcus Douthit. (FCC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 06, 2014.

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