MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone tries to test Gilas Pilipinas' mettle when he calls the shots for the Mindanao selection in the kickoff leg of the PBA All-Star week this May.
The All-Star team battles the Philippine men's basketball team in Digos, Davao del Sur on May 23 to set off hostilities in the mid-season classic that will also tour the cities of Batangas on May 25 and Iloilo on May 27, respectively.
In last year’s All-Star edition, Cone handled the Visayas selection that went down against a scrappy national team that rallied from a 15-point deficit to pull off a 125-112 win.
Cone will now have a new collection of players at his disposal to get even against the national team in the annual festivities which counts on Phoenix Fuel with Phoenix Pulse Technology as major sponsor.
Voted as starters for Cone’s team during the event backed by Peak Sports Apparel and PBA RUSH-Cignal are Ginebra player Scottie Thompson, the Magnolia trio of Mark Barroca, Peter June Simon, and Jio Jalalon, along with Blackwater big man Mac Belo.
The rest of Cone’s unit include Baser Amer, Cyrus Baguio, Sonny Thoss, Rafi Reavis, Poy Erram, RR Garcia, and Carlo Lastimosa.
The Mindanao selection though, will have its hands full against the Philippine team bannered by June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, and Terrence Romeo.
Completing the cast of coach Chot Reyes are Carl Bryan Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Jayson Castro, and rookie Kiefer Ravena.
It was Abueva and Romeo who sparked the national team’s comeback against Visayas in last year’s All-Star as the duo finished with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
In particular, Cone mentioned Abueva as the national team’s energizer that made the come-from-behind win possible.
“The guy that really hurt us in the proper time was Calvin. He had a big stretch in the third quarter when he turned the game around for us. We didn’t have a good matchup for him and he got himself going,” noted Cone back then.
Fans in Davao will also get an added treat during the game as the league will be holding a special three-point shootout featuring 3 celebrated personalities from Mindanao in tandem with 3 PBA Legends.
Special Assistant to the President Bong Go teams up with inaugural three-point champion Allan Caidic, lawyer and Presidential son-in-law Mans Carpio partners with Simon, while Senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao shoots alongside Kenneth Duremdes. – Rappler.com