Fighting first five for PBA Selection
MANILA, Philippines — Two-time MVP James Yap, San Mig Coffee teammate Mark Barroca and No. 1 Draft pick Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra form the nucleus of the PBA Selection that will battle Gilas Pilipinas in this year’s All-Star Game set next month.
The high-flying Chris Ellis and former Gilas standout Mac Baracael, both of Ginebra, are the other starter-choices of fans.
The coaches named reigning MVP Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer and last season’s top rookie, Calvin Abueva of Alaska, to lead the reserves.
Marcio Lassiter, also of San Miguel, and Sonny Thoss of Alaska, Joe De Vance and Peter June Simon of San Mig and Nino Cañaleta of Talk ‘N Text are the other players coming off the bench for the squad that will be handled by Tim Cone.
The Nationals, slated to play in the World Cup in Spain in August, will see action in the Annual Classic for the second straight year.
Last year in Digos, Davao del Sur, the PBA Selection held the Nationals to a tie after regulation.
This will be the first time this year that Gilas Pilipinas will be playing as a team.
It started Monday practices two weeks ago and will go full swing in its preparations for the World Cup—and the Asian Games the following month—after July 15.
This year’s festivities are set at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. Jonas Villanueva of Air21, Chris Tiu of Rain or Shine and Ellis will also try to defend their Obstacle, Three-Point and Slam Dunk titles, respectively, in the side events.
LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra is entered in the Obstacle Challenge, while Mark Macapagal, a former champion, Gary David of Meralco and Lassiter are among the notables who will try to deny Tiu a second straight win.
The Slam Dunk promises to be the mother of all side events, especially with Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra and San Mig Coffee rookie Justin Melton, who reportedly owns a 44-inch vertical leap, throwing their hat into the contest.
A game pitting the Greats versus the Stalwarts, to be handled by legends Atoy Co and Bogs Adornado, respectively, is also on tap.