MANILA, Philippines – The 2014 PBA All-Stars relish the chance not only to show off their skills to Filipino basketball fans, but also to help the national team in their preparations for the FIBA World Cup in Spain later this year.
San Mig head coach Tim Cone, tasked to helm the 2014 All-Stars, stressed that Sunday afternoon’s game is “going to be serious.”
“It will be a battle,” he told PBA.ph. “Our team is here for two reasons. One is for the fans. We want to represent ourselves well. Second, we’re here for Gilas. We’re here to get them better.”
Last year, the PBA All-Stars battled Gilas Pilipinas to a 124-all tie, with the national team needing a last-second Jeff Chan three-pointer to force the draw.
They are back in action Sunday for the first time since clinching a spot in the FIBA World Cup last August, and the All-Stars said they are ready to push the national team to the limit once more.
“Ang tema ng All-Stars na ito ay tulungan ang Gilas,” said San Mig guard Mark Barroca. “So dapat, gawin namin ang parte namin. We have to give them a good fight.”
“We’re surely be doing our part,” added long-time Gilas mainstay Greg Slaughter.
“We’ll do our part. We’ll make the fans happy, and do our best to give Gilas a good game,” said James Yap.
Slaughter, Barroca and Yap will all be starting in the game, along with Chris Ellis and Mac Baracael. Arwind Santos, Calvin Abueva, Marcio Lassiter, Sonny Thoss, Joe Devance, KG Canaleta and PJ Simon are coming off the bench.
“I’ll try very hard to tell the guys, let’s do something else, something noble,” Cone said. “Let’s not think about ourselves, but to help Gilas better in preparation for the World Cup.”
National team head coach Chot Reyes welcomes the opportunity for Gilas to “get together again,” although he admits that he is not expecting much.
Gilas is grouped with Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico, Croatia and Senegal in the World Cup, and is targeting two wins to advance to the second round.