BORACAY—Coach Ato Agustin of San Miguel Beer still remembers his championship defeat to Chot Reyes and the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the Philippine Cup.
Agustin now gets a chance for redemption when his North stars face Reyes and the top players of the South in the PBA All-Star game today at the Boracay Convention Center.
“This is probably a good time for me to seek revenge after I lost to him in the all-Filipino conference,” said Agustin with a grin.
Agustin is pinning his hopes on North starters Willie Miller of Ginebra, Rain Or Shine’s Gabe Norwood, Kerby Raymundo and Marc Pingris of Derby Ace and Alaska’s LA Tenorio, a first-time all-star who replaced Ginebra’s Marc Caguioa.
“My players will avenge me. But seriously, we have to defend last year’s victory,” said Agustin, the 1992 season MVP and a six-time all-star himself.
Reyes’s South squad, composed of starting five Kelly Williams of TNT, Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio, Petron’s Jay Washington, Eric Menk of Barangay Ginebra and reigning MVP James Yap of Derby Ace, also has an axe to grind.
The North team edged the South, 133-130, last season in Puerto Princesa for a 5-4 advantage in their head-to-head duel since the North versus South format was established in 1992.
While Agustin will be coaching in the all-star game for the first time, Reyes is looking for a third victory in four all-star games.
“The first three quarters is all about giving the fans a good show. But in the fourth, we have to buckle down, make some stops and win,” said Washington.
North tries to duplicate its back-to-back victories during the 1993 and 1994 season when Allan Caidic and Benjie Paras won the All-Star game MVP, respectively.
National players Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros are on their 11th appearance in the all-star game, the climax of the annual weeklong festivities supported by Smart, Accel, Molten, Maynilad, Meralco, Puma, Rain Or Shine and Alta Vista Hotel-Boracay.
In the Rookies versus Sophomores Blitz game held late Saturday evening, Rob Labagala of Ginebra and Powerade’s Sean Anthony were named co-MVPs after leading the freshmen to a 114-109 win over the sophomores.