DIGOS, Davao Del Sur—All for the fans.
Gilas-Pilipinas, the national five tasked to take the country back to the World Basketball scene, and a PBA All-Star Selection made up of superstars who are just as talented as the nationals, clash in the centerpiece game of the All-Star Week today at Davao Del Sur Coliseum here.
With the game serving as a welcome break in the middle of the Final Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the 6 p.m. encounter won’t be as tough but exciting nevertheless for the fans of this cage-crazy country.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a good fight,” naturalized 6-foot-10 Gilas-Pilipinas center Marcus Douthit told select reporters over breakfast yesterday at posh Marco Polo Hotel in Davao.
“Most of the guys here are in the (Commissioner’s Cup) playoffs for their mother teams, and that’s more important at the moment,” Douthit added. “I’m not sure how much energy they will exert in this game.”
From this bunch of Nationals will come the final 12 players who will represent the Philippines in the Fiba-Asia Qualifying tournament in August in Manila, where a third place finish will mean a stint for the Filipinos against the best basketball countries in Madrid next year.
The fans in this province, which is about a two-hour drive from Davao City, will also get the chance to see the potential National Five for the first time and get a bonus of seeing Mark Caguioa and James Yap play in one team together for the PBA Selection.
Both Caguioa and Yap, former MVPs, are injured but made the trip here to give the fans a treat, with Yap even participating in the Three-Point Shootout on Friday night.
Yap disclosed that he will start the game and will play at least three minutes with Caguioa, the reigning MVP who has missed the better half of the current conference, including all of the playoffs, for crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra.