Gilas, PBA 5 fight for flag, pride

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 03 2013 01:29 PM | Updated as of May 03 2013 09:29 PM

DIGOS, Davao del Sur, Philippines  – Flag and country is the theme of this year’s PBA All-Star Game, but don’t expect it to be just the show of the national team.

If the objective is to provide Gilas Pilipinas some competition, members of the PBA select team can well do the job.

Gilas Pilipinas and the PBA Selection meet in the centerpiece event – the All-Star Game – of the 2013 PBA All-Star Week at the Davao del Sur Coliseum in this quaint city Sunday.

Pressure is definitely on Gilas Pilipinas with the PBA All Stars – nothing to lose in this game – vowing to go all out not just to provide competition but to steal the show from the Nationals.

“It’s still a game and as basketball players, we’ll be there to fight for pride. We’ll not just roll over and die. We’ll give them a good fight,” said Arwind Santos during the pre All-Star Week press conference at the playing venue yesterday.

“We’re to give them help in this event. Pasensyahan na lang, gagawin namin ang trabaho namin (Pardon us, we’ll do our job),” said Beau Belga, a Rain or Shine enforcer hinting at going hard against the Nationals.
“We’ll try to win this and it’s going to be a good game,” said Cyrus Baguio.

“It’s just an exhibition game but the competition will be there. This is to help the national team in its training and, at the same time, a good game for the fans to enjoy,” said Jayvee Casio.

Calvin Abueva, KG Canaleta, Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot expressed the same thing during the event attended by Gov. Douglas Cagas and her wife Mercedes, a provincial board governor.

Not present were James Yap, Mark Caguioa and Jay Washington who are flying in from Manila just today.

Also set to arrive today are national coach Chot Reyes and his team, and old league stars who are playing in the Legends Game at 7:30 p.m. in the All-Star Friday.

A guessing game is whether Manny Pacquiao is showing up to join Benjie Paras, Jerry Codiñera, Bong Hawkins, Bong Ravena, Vince Hizon, Noli Locsin and others in the Legends Game.

“There’s a big possibility that he’ll drop by to play if his schedule allows. He’s busy campaigning for his brother and wife,” said Cagas.

“Manny used to work in this capitol in his younger years. He has appeared here to play twice,” Cagas also said.

Codiñera has been named to be playing coach for Team Greats while Kenneth Duremdes is to call the shots for Team Stalwarts.

Active players playing in Team Greats are PJ Simon, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Mike Cortez, Cliff Hodge and Joe Devance. Strutting their stuffs with the Stalwarts are Chris Tiu, Willie Miller, Ronald Tubid and JC Intal.

In the skills events starting at 5 p.m., Mark Macapagal and Jonas Villanueva go for four-peat in the Three-Point Shootout and Obstacle Challenge, respectively, while Ellis, Santos, Abueva, Cliff Hodge and Elmer Espiritu vie for the slam-dunk crown.