Yap, Caguioa first All-Star team-up set

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DAVAO—James Yap of San Mig Coffee and Mark Caguioa of Barangay Ginebra, two of the biggest local draws in the Philippine Basketball Association the past few seasons, could play together in an All-Star Game for the first time—even for a brief moment.

Yap, who is being hobbled by a bulging disk in the back, and Caguioa, out for majority of the Commissioner’s Cup because of an MCL tear, are expected in this progressive city tomorrow despite their injuries to fulfill their commitments to the league’s loyal fans.

“They will surely play,” commissioner Chito Salud told the fans who braved the heat at Davao International Airport here.

“Mark (Caguioa) and James (Yap) are just having treatment for their injuries but gave their word that they will be available for the (All-Star) game on Sunday,” Salud said.

Caguioa and Yap are not included in the Gilas-Pilipinas pool and have been tapped to spearhead the PBA Selection that will clash with the Nationals in the centerpiece event of this year’s Annual Classic.

Both have always played on opposing sides in the All-Stars, with Yap, a native of Escalante in Negros, and Caguioa, who was born in Mandaluyong, playing for the South and North squads, respectively, in the past.

Caguioa has not seen action in the semifinals, and the Kings need him back badly to break a 1-1 series tie with the heavily favored Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.

Yap’s defending champion Mixers are also tied at 1-1 with Alaska in their half of the semifinals, and is likely to play limited minutes.

Meanwhile, Mark Macapagal of Barako Bull, who will shoot for a fourth straight Three-Point Shootout title, is downplaying his chances after he and his Energy were eliminated from the Commissioner’s Cup  two weeks ago.

“It’s a wide open event,” Macapagal said as he and Barako teammate Jonas Villanueva both didn’t have the time to be as sharp as they could be for the event.

The Slam Dunk Contest has Ginebra rookie Chris Ellis looming as favorite.

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