Star-filled Shanghai faces PBA selection

MANILA, Philppines - The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Board of Governors has unanimously agreed to form an All-Star selection team that will face the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks in a goodwill game on June 28 at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.

PBA Commissioner, Atty. Angelico "Chito" Salud announced the exhibition game after the PBA board meeting held in Cebu City yesterday which was presided over by PBA chairman Mert Mondrago of Rain of Shine.

According to Salud, the game will serve as the PBA's small effort to improve relations with China which was rattled with a standoff over the two nations' claim of sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal.

"In the spirit of reconciliation with the China, we have agreed to play a goodwill game against the No. 6 ranked team in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)," Salud said.

Yao Ming is expected to lead the team's tour here. They have been invited through the efforts of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and its counterpart in China, the Ministry of Sports.

Before joining the NBA, Yao helped the Shanghai Sharks to the CBA championship in 2002, and was selected No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Rockets that same year in the NBA Rookie Draft. Yao finally retired last season.

He purchased the Shanghai Sharks in 2009.

The team is powered by two members of China's national team, 6-foot-3 guard Liu Wei and 7-foot-3 center Zhang Zhaoxu, as well as 6-foot-8 forward Tseng Wen-Ting of Chinese Taipei. They will also be reinforced by Americans Mike Harris and Marcus Laundry.

Salud said coach Tim Cone of Commissioner's Cup B-Meg already agreed to mentor the PBA All-Star selection, although it is the PBA board which will select the 16 players.

Aside from the PBA All-Star selection, a PSC official said that there is also negotiation for the Sharks to face the PH national team, the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas II of coach Chot Reyes in another exhibition game on June 30 also at the MOA Arena.

Although it could not yet be fully determined, the coming exhibition game will probably be the inaugural event to be held at the MOA Arena which considered to be the most modern stadium in the country.

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