Durant, McGee join NBA stars’ selection in ManilaBy June Navarro |Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA—Two more big names will join the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend on July 23 and 24 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the Fiba world championship MVP and Javale McGee, a slam dunk artist from the Washington Wizards, will join the star-studded NBA selection that will play a pair of charity matches against a PBA selection and the Smart Gilas national team.
McGee stunned hoop junkies and wrote a record of sorts when the seven-footer dunked three balls on a single jump during the NBA slam dunk contest.
MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio confirmed McGee’s participation and the presence of two-time NBA scoring champion Durant, who was one of the stars initially mentioned when news of the event first broke out.
Durant, who led Team USA in scoring when the squad brought home the 2010 world championship title, was named the ninth member of the star-studded selection while McGee, who lost the slam-dunk crown to Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers five months ago during the NBA All-Star Weekend, replaced DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers.
Jordan reportedly backed out due to passport problems.
Durant and McGee join an elite roster that includes five-time champion Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers, reigning MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and another member of the 2008 Olympics “Redeem Team” in Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.
Also part of the team, to be coached by Bryant, are seasoned point guard Derek Fisher of the Lakers, Oklahoma Thunder’s James Harden, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings and second overall rookie pick Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The PBA takes the first crack against the NBA stars on July 23 at 7 p.m. before the Smart Gilas quintet of national coach Rajko Toroman get their shot at 1 p.m. the following day.
Talk N Text’s Chot Reyes will coach the PBA squad composed of James Yap and Marc Pingris of BMeg, Mark Caguioa and JC Intal of Ginebra, Arwin Santos and Rabeh Al-Hussaini of Petron Blaze, Ryan Reyes, Jason Castro and Larry Fonacier of Talk N’ Text, Sonny Thoss and LA Tenorio of Alaska, Sol Mercado of Meralco, Gary David of Powerade, Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine and Danny Seigle of Air21.
TNT’s Kelly Williams, Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo, Asi Taulava of Meralco and Dondon Hontiveros of Air21 will play for the Nationals, who also have naturalized Marcus Douthit, team captain Chris Tiu, co-skipper Mark Barroca, JV Casio, Mac Baracael, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Lutz, Dylan Ababou and Jason Ballesteros on the roster.