MANILA, Philippines – Veteran cager Asi Taulava of the Coca-Cola Tigers is set to play his 12th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Star Game on Sunday at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum in Palawan.
Taulava, a two-time All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP), is part of the South team’s First 5 alongside Kelly Williams, Erik Menk, Cyrus Baguio and James Yap.
The Filipino-Tongan player will be tied with “The Defense Minister” Jerry Codiñera, who played in 12 All-Star Games.
According to PBA.ph, Taulava was named the All-Star MVP in 2004 along with Jimmy Alapag. He also earned the same honor in 2006.
The record-holder for the most number of All-Star Games played is 13-time All-Star “The Captain” Alvin Patrimonio.
Meantime, Dondon Hontiveros, also of the South, will make his 11th All-Star appearance. He will join Dindo Pumaren and Vergel “The Aerial Voyager” Meneses in the list of 11-time All-Star players.
Alaska Aces coach Tim Cone will be an All-Star coach for the 8th time as mentor to the South. He has a 4-3 All-Star record.
Completing the Southern line up are Alapag, Roger Yap, Joe Devance, Reynel Hugnatan, Sonny Thoss and Ronald Tubid.
Meanwhile, the North will have Mark Pingris, JC Intal, Jayjay Helterbrand, Paul Artadi and Gabe Norwood as its First 5.
Norwood took over Kerby Raymundo's place as the latter would have to sit out the All-Star game due to a right knee injury.
Willie Miller, Rico Maierhofer, Ranidel de Ocampo, Sol Mercado, Ryan Reyes, Mark Cardona and Arwind Santos also make up the North.
Miller will make his 10th All-Star Game appearance on Sunday, joining the ranks of Jeffrey Cariaso, Kenneth "Captain Marbel" Duremdes and Nelson "The Bull" Asaytono.
Miller received the All-Star MVP honor in 2007 along with 2005 MVP Jayjay Helterbrand.
Raymundo would have marked his 10th All-Star Game appearance, if not for his injury.
B-Meg Derby Ace coach Ryan Gregorio will be calling the shots for the North, his 3rd time as an All-Star coach. His All-Star record is 1-1.
The PBA All-Star Game was institutionalized in 1989. Among its MVPs are Duremdes (1996), Patrimonio (1991) and Meneses (1995, 1998, 2000 and 2003)
This year’s PBA All-Star Weekend will also have the Rookies vs Sophomores Blitz Game, obstacle challenge, 3-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest. – With a report from PBA.ph