All-Star weekend begins
Laoag rolls out red carpet for PBA; skills event todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAOAG CITY—The sun-baked capital of Ilocos Norte rolled out the red carpet for the Philippine Basketball Association All-Stars, with the league and the players promising a show like no other in return starting with the Skills Events today.
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” league commissioner Chito Salud told members of the local media yesterday morning to formally kick off the weekend affair that culminates with the Rookies-Sophomore-Juniors vs Veterans game on Sunday at the Ilocos Norte Cultural Arena here.
The best players this side of the globe are taking part in this event, save for the stars of Talk ‘N Text, the runner-up in the recent Commissioner’s Cup to B-Meg.
“We’re not protesting the outcome of that game, please point that out,” Talk ‘N Text’s alternate board member Ricky Vargas told the Inquirer over the phone. “Yes, there were calls that were not properly made and we resent that.
“But they (PBA office) should take this separately,” he continued. “Our players are spent. We’ve been to five straight Finals and the games have been very physical.”
Vargas reacted on the phone to a website report that said he was bitter about the Texters’ 90-84 Game 7 loss to the Llamados.
“It’s their destiny,” Vargas said of
B-Meg. “Champion talaga sila. What we want to do is for flaws (in officiating) like those (in Game 7) to be addressed so we can improve as a whole.”
Vargas said he had already requested for a meeting with Salud, who will see him when the entire PBA entourage gets home on Tuesday.
Japeth Aguilar was supposed to take part in the Slam Dunk Contest and RSJ-Veterans game; assistant coach Bong Ravena in the Stalwarts vs Greats tiff and Ranidel de Ocampo, in the main game.
Meanwhile, no less than Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Laoag City Mayor Michael Fariñas were on hand to welcome the PBA delegation Wednesday night.
Dinner at the Malacañang in the North, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ home here, started the affair as the governor gave the All-Stars a taste of native delicacies like the “dinakdakan,” “pakbet” and “bagnet.”
The Obstacle Challenge will be the first event today followed by the 3-Point Shootout and then the Stalwarts vs Greats game where Alvin Patrimonio and Jojo Lastimosa banner the Greats and Allan Caidic and Johnny Abarrientos spearhead the Stalwarts.
The day’s event starts at 5 p.m.