Friday , 19 April 2024
Japeth Aguilar. PBA Photo

All set for PBA All-Star Weekend in Bacolod

By Robert Andaya

March 23-24 will be red-letter days in the calendar for loyal PBA fans.

The  PBA All-Star weekend – the mid-season showcase featuring the best and the brightest in Asia’s first play-for-pay league –  comes off the wraps on March 23-24 in Bacolod City.

Team Japeth Aguilar and Team Marc Barroca will clash in another star-studded game  before an expected big weekend crowd in Bacolod, the  “City of Smiles.”

Aguilar and Barroca emerged as the top  two players who received the most number of fan votes and became outright captains of the two All-Star teams.

Team Japeth, which will be handled by Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone, will parade Fil-German star Christian Standhardinger, who  emerged as the top pick in the drafting of players for the second straight year, while  Team Barroca, which will be manned by San Miguel Beer mentor Jorge Gallent , will field  seven-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who was selected as the No. 2 overall pick.

Cone and Gallent were also the two coaches who received the most number of fan votes.

Aside from Standhardinger, Team Japeth also has four other Ginebra players in its 14-man roster in Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Stanley Pringle

The other members of Team Japeth are Paul Lee (Magnolia), Calvin Oftana (TNT), Chris Newsome (Meralco), Don Trollano (San Miguel), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel), Arvin Tolentino (Northport), Tyler Tio (Phoenix), and Terrence Romeo (San Miguel).

Team Barroca, on the other hand, will boast of three Magnolia players in Jio Jalalon, Ian Sangalang, and Calvin Abueva.

Joining them are Fajardo,  Jason Perkins (Phoenix), CJ Perez (San Miguel), Robert Bolick (NLEX), James Yap (Blackwater), Jayson Castro (TNT), Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine), Cliff Hodge (Meralco), Juami Tiongson (Terrafirma), Nards Pinto (Ginebra), and rookie Ricci Rivero (Phoenix).

Last year,  Team Japeth defeated Team Scottie in a high-scoring game, 140-136 in Passi, Iloilo, 

In the Team Greats vs. Team Stalwarts, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of TNT and Kyt Jimenez  of San Miguel Beer  will lead the players in the event featuring rookie, sophomore, and junior players.

Ganuelas-Rosser, who was recently acquired by TNT in a three-team trade, went to Team Greats of Barangay Ginebra deputy Patrick Partosa while Jimenez went to  Team Stalwarts of  San Miguel assistant coach Peter Martin.

Joining Ganuelas-Rosser in Team Greats are Javi Gomez de Liano (Terrafirma), Kenneth Tuffin (Phoenix), Jerrick Ahanmisi (Magnolia), Justin Arana (Converge), Ralph Cu (Barangay Ginebra), Andrei Caracut (Rain or Shine), RK Ilagan (Blackwater), Alec Stockton (Converge), Gian Mamuyac (Rain or Shine), James Laput (Magnolia), and Shaun Ildefonso (Rain or Shine).

With Jimenez in Team Stalwarts are Stephen Holt (Terrafirma), Keith Datu (Rain or Shine), Fran Yu (Northport), John Amores (Northport), Adrian Nocum (Rain or Shine), Kim Aurin (TNT), JM Calma (Northport), Joshua Munzon (Northport), Anton Asistio (Rain or Shine), Santi Santillan (Rain or Shine), and Keith Zaldivar (Converge).

Last year in Passi, Iloilo, Team Greats blasted Team Stalwarts, 158-138, 

The Blitz Game will be played on March 23 at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum at 6:15 p.m.

It will be preceded by the Skills Challenge set at 3 p.m. featuring the Obstacle Challenge and the Long Distance Three-Point shootout among guards and big men.

The Obstacle Challenge and the three-point shootout among the guards are still to be played, with Dave Marcelo and Paul Lee coming back to defend their respective titles.

Among the bigs seeing action in the long distance shootout are Jason Perkins (Phoenix), Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser (TNT), Aris Dionisio (Magnolia), Sean Anthony (NLEX), JM Calma (Northport), Mo Tautuaa (San Miguel), Isaac Go (Terrafirma), Keith Zaldivar (Converge), and rookies Ralph Cu (Barangay Ginebra), Christian David (Blackwater), Brandon Bates (Meralco), and Keith Datu (Rain or Shine).

Crowding out Lee in his bid for a back-to-back are Maverick Ahanmisi (Rain or Shine), Alex Stockton (Converge), Chris Newsome (Meralco,), Robbie Herndon (NLEX), Arvin Tolentino (Northport), Tyler Tio (Phoenix), Andrei Caracut (Rain or Shine), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel), Javi Gomez de Liano (Terrafirma), Calvin Oftana (TNT), and James Yap (Blackwater).

Marcelo will get strong  challenge in the Obstacle Challenge from Christian Standhardinger (Barangay Ginebra), Justin Arana (Converge), James Laput (Magnolia), Calma (Northport), Perkins (Phoenix), Tautuaa (San Miguel), Go (Terrafirma), Ganuelas-Rosser (TNT), and freshmen Clifford Jopia, Brandon Bates, and Keith Datu.

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