NCAA All-Star unfolds today

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Lyceum University of the Philippines’ Mark Malabanan drives on Justine Mercado of San Sebastian College during an NCAA season 92 game at the San Juan Arena. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

Lyceum University of the Philippines’ Mark Malabanan drives on Justine Mercado of San Sebastian College during an NCAA season 92 game at the San Juan Arena. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-Star Festival gets underway today featuring the clash between Team West and Team East at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Besides the West vs East game, the All-Star Festival will also stage a slam dunk competition, a three-point shooting contest, as well as a shooting challenge and skills challenge.

The West side is composed of Letran’s Rey Nambatac, McJour Luib and Jomari Sollano, Mapua’s Darell Menina, Andrew Estrella and Exe Biteng, Lyceum’s Ian Alban, MJ Ayaay and Wilson Baltazar, Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Jorem Morada, Francis Munsayac and Sidney Onwubere, and Saint Benilde’s JJ Domingo, Yankie Haruna and Christian Fajarito.

The West Team will be coached by Letran’s Jeff Napa.

“I just told the players to just enjoy the game without pressure. We’ll be playing without an import,” said Napa in a phone interview. “I’m very happy that I’m chosen to coach in the All-Star. It is a great opportunity to handle great talents.”

The East squad, meanwhile, will be composed of Arellano’s Jiovanni Jalalon, Julius Cadavis and Kent Salado, Perpetual Help’s Gab Dagangon, AJ Coronel and Bright Akhuetie, San Beda’s Davon Potts, Dan Sara and Donald Tankoua and Jose Rizal’s Teytey Teodoro, Ervin Grospe and Paolo Pontejos as well as San Sebastian’s Michael Calisaan, Ryan Costelo and Jerick Fabian.

The East Team will be under San Beda’s coach Jamike Jarin.

Last season, the West team under former Letran coach Aldin Ayo escaped the East with a slim 89-88 win behind the impressive performance of Mark Cruz of Letran and Jonathan Grey of Saint Benilde.

The East Team, without citing reasons, announced that it is not fielding reigning Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme and CJ Isit of Mapua, Mike Nzeusseu of Lyceum and Hamadou Laminou of EAC.

The participants in the slam dunk tilt are Saint Benilde’s Yankie Haruna, Lyceum’s Wilson Baltazar, Arellano’s Levin Flores, EAC’s Sydney Onwubere, Jose Rizal’s Kim Aurin, Letran’s Renato Ular, Lyceum’s Jaycee Marcelino, Perpetual’s Rommel Mangalino, San Beda’s Eugene Toba and San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi.

Displaying their prowess in the three-point shootout contest are Baltazar, Nambatac, Arellano’s Zach Nicholls, St. Benilde’s Carlo Young, Mapua’s Exe Biteng, EAC’s Jervin Guzman, Jose Rizal’s Paolo Evardo, San Sebastian’s RK Ilagan, Perpetual Help’s McKevin Velasquez and San Beda’s AC Soberano.

Last year, Lyceum’s Jebb Bulawan won the slam dunk crown, while Letran’s Mark Cruz emerged as the three-point shootout king.

“This year’s NCAA All-Star edition offers more excitement because we’ve introduced a pair of new events,” NCAA Management Committee Chairman Jose Mari Lacson said in a statement. “Also, we have some new talented players that came out from this year’s batch that should add more spice to an already talent-laden cast,” he concluded.

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