All-Star weekend unfolds; 3-point shootout, other side events get action going
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco gunner Mark Macapagal seeks an unprecedented sixth three-point shootout title while Purefoods Star spitfire Mark Barroca goes for back-to-back crowns in the obstacle challenge as the 2015 PBA All-Star Week gets going Friday in Puerto Princesa City.
Today’s events serve as an appetizer to the annual All-Star Game pitting North versus South on Sunday.
Sharing the crown last year, Justin Melton and Rey Guevarra also headline a strong field that includes Japeth Aguilar and Gabe Norwood in the slam dunk competition.
The league’s top rookies then take on the sophomores in a blitz game that tips off at 7 p.m.
A stellar cast will challenge Macapagal for the crown with Niño Canaleta, James Yap, LA Tenorio, Arwind Santos, Chris Tiu and Jimmy Alapag vying in the competition.
High-flyers Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Cyrus Baguio and JC Intal are also taking part in the slam dunk event.
Barroca, on the other hand, will defend his Obstacle Challenge title against former champ Jonas Villanueva, Simon Atkins, Tenorio, LA Revilla, RR Garcia, Brian Heruela, Chris Banchero, Stanley Pringle, Barroca, Jason Castro and Jeric Fortuna.
Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan is expected to lead the sophomores against a team led by former Letran teammate Kevin Alas.
There won’t be a shortage of talent in the rookie team with Ganuelas-Rosser, Ronald Pascual, Jake Pascual and Anthony Semerad also part of the squad.
Meanwhile, the South All-Stars remain upbeat as they come out on top against the North despite the absence of reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo and Dondon Hontiveros.
“We will give them a tough match-up,” said NLEX center Asi Taulava.
Taulava, who is making his record 13th All-Star Game, has been voted to start for the South All-Stars along with Greg Slaughter, James Yap, Barroca and Fajardo, who sustained an ankle injury last Tuesday.
Jeff Chan, Cyrus Baguio, Reynel Hugnatan, Joe De Vance, PJ Simon and Stan Pringle make up the South’s reserve list.
Starting for the North side are Marc Pingris, Melton, Castro, Calvin Abueva and Aguilar.