It’s Luzon All-Star team’s turn to test the prowess of Gilas Pilipinas in the second leg of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Star Week today at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.
Game time is set 7:30 p.m. with the Luzon squad to be coached by Lucena pride Leo Austria of San Miguel Beer.
Austria’s team is composed of Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo of TNT KaTropa, Beermen Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Anthony Jay Washington of Rain or Shine, Paul Lee of Star Hotshots and Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort.
“I’m hoping to finally get a win here in my hometown even at the All-Star game,” said Austria, who lost to Alaska in Game 3 of the Philippine Cup finals two years ago and to Ginebra in Game 2 of the Philippine Cup finals last conference in the said venue.
Austria said he would give the players opportunity to showcase their skills against the Gilas 5 of head coach Chot Reyes.
“We will let them play. I will give them the freedom to show their talent,” said Austria. “That is all about the All-Star, to show their talent. It’s an exhibition game, but we want to win. I hope we could help the national team.”
Gilas, on the other hand, is composed of Kevin Ferrer of Ginebra, Mike Tolomia and Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine, Carl Bryan Cruz of Alaska, Allein Maliksi of Star Hotshots, free agent Almond Vosotros, Ed Daquioag and Jonathan Grey of Meralco, Arnold Van Opstal of San Miguel Beer and Norbert Torres of Phoenix.
Last Wednesday, the match between Gilas Pilipinas and the Mindanao All-Star selection ended in a 114-114 draw in the first leg of the event in Cagayan de Oro.
Reyes will name the final 12 who will play in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship on May 12 to 18 at the Araneta Coliseum after the game.
Rain or Shine’s Maverick Ahanmisi, meanwhile, is back to defend his Obstacle Challenge title against Cabagnot, Pringle, Revilla, Daquioag, Sol Mercado, Roi Sumang, Kris Rosales, RJ Jazul, Alvin Abundo, Eman Monfort, and Simon Enciso.
Two-time defending champion Terrence Romeo is gunning for a three-peat in the Three-Point Shootout contest against challengers Lassiter, Matthew Wright, Tenorio, Maliksi, Jared Dillinger, Juami Tiongson, Gary David, Simon Enciso, Ronjay Buenafe, Ahanmisi and Larry Fonacier.
In the Slam Dunk contest, three-time champion Rey Guevarra goes for four in a row versus last year’s runner-up Chris Newsome, James Forrester, Marion Magat and rookie Jammer Jamito.
JOSEF T. RAMOS