Pippen, NBA legends give PH a treat in exhibition game vs PBA greatsBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Jason Williams threw the ball off the backboard to set up a trailing Scottie Pippen for the two-handed dunk.
That Williams to Pippen alley-oop never happened in an actual NBA game but Manila got to witness it Wednesday night in the PLDT All-star Basketball Challenge at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Pippen, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls, along with former NBA stars Williams, Dennis Rodman, Mitch Richmond, Cliff Robinson and Horace Grant wowed the sizeable crowd of different generations as their team beat a squad of PBA greats, 112-93.
“We just want to thank you guys for coming out and supporting us,” addressed the six-foot-seven Pippen to the cheering fans during a timeout in the waning seconds of the game.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist tallied 20 points including dunks and three-pointers that somehow gave the Filipinos a glimpse of how he was during his heyday.
The crowd-favorite Rodman gamely interacted with the fans. He grabbed teammate Chris Campbell and put him at courtside after Campbell botched a wide-open dunk to the delight of the crowd.
Mitch Richmond, the sharpshooting swingman, also joined the fans at courtside after misfiring on an open trey.
But perhaps it was Williams who was the star of stars with his crowd-pleasing style of play.
Williams, who won a title with the Miami Heat in 2006, hasn’t lost a step as he drew oohs and aahs with his ball handling and fancy passing.
The six-foot-one playmaker showcased his basketball trickery- one of which was bouncing the ball between former Ginebra guard Bal David’s legs–as David tried to steal the leather.
Williams led the US team with 26 points, majority of which came from beyond-the-arc.
Kenneth Duremdes kept the PBA legends within striking distance at least until the first part of the fourth quarter before the NBA legends decided to finally put the game out of reach.
Duremdes actually came away with game-high honors in points with 29.
A fan even said of the 38-year-old Duremdes: “He is still in good shape. Pang-PBA pa.”
Before the start of the fourth quarter, former Alaska star Jojo Lastimosa had his shoe signed by Williams.
The rest of his teammates, Bong Hawkins, playing-coach Jerry Codinera, Marlou Aquino, Noli Locsin, Nelson Asaytono and EJ Feihl also had either their jerseys or game-worn kicks signed by their NBA idols during the television timeout called with only 16 seconds left.