Gilas vs PBA selection will be special

Before Gilas Pilipinas goes to Spain for the FIBA World Cup, the PBA wants to showcase the team when it battles a tough PBA selection to highlight the 2014 All-Star weekend at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The All-Star week begins tomorrow.

[caption id="attachment_120359" align="alignright" width="300"] PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo of Meralco said the PBA All-Star weekend which starts tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena will be a special one for different reasons. Shown with Segismundo is PBA Operations chief Rickie Santos. (Bob Dungo, Jr.)[/caption]

“It’s a very special All-Star Game,” said Meralco’s Ramon Segismundo, chair of PBA Board of Governors, in yesterday’s PSA Forum at the Shakey’s Restaurant in Malate.

“First it’s the 25 years of the PBA All-Star Week, second it’s the first time it will be held in Metro Manila kasi it’s always in the province, third lalaro ang Gilas Pilipinas kaya magkakaroon ng pagkakataon na mapapanood sila ng publiko bago pumunta sa Espanya,” said Segismundo.

During last year’s All-Star in Digos, Davao del Sur, the game between Gilas Pilipinas and the All-Star team ended in a 124-standoff with Arwind Santos of the PBA side and Jeff Chan of Gilas emerging as co-MVPs.

According to Segismundo, another exhibition game is being planned by the board and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) in July, before the team goes to Korea for an invitational tournament.

Aside from Santos, who is the reigning MVP, also in the All-Star team are San Mig Super Coffee’s James Yap, Mark Barroca, Joe Devance and Peter June Simon, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss, San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter, Talk ’N Text’s KG Canaleta, and Barangay Ginebra’s Chris Ellis, Mac Baracael and Greg Slaughter.

San Mig coach Tim Cone, a former PH team mentor, will call the shots for the PBA All-Star Team.

Members of Gilas Pilipinas of coach Chot Reyes are TNT’s Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier, Rain or Shine’s Chan, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga and Paul Lee, Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, Meralco’s Gary David and Jared Dillinger, San Mig’s Marc Pingris, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and naturalized center Marcus Douthit.

“We expect this year’s All-Star Game to be hard-fought,” said Rickie Santos, the PBA’s Operations Head.

He said the non-Gilas players have an extra motivation which is to embarrass the national team and at the same time prove that some of them are better than some of the nationals.

“Not being member of Gilas Pilipinas, the PBA all-stars want to prove that they also deserve to be part of the national team if they were given a chance,” Santos said.

Segismundo said the PBA has practically done everything to ensure that Gilas gets all the support in its coming campaign, both in Spain and the Asian Games in South Korea.

He said some of the concessions include compressing its schedule in the Governors’ Cup (third conference) and making PBA players available for the national team.

Besides the All-Star Game, the weekend will also feature the All-Star Skills Challenge, the Obstacle Challenge, the Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk contest.

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