Rose completes NBA stellar cast in Phl

by Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 18 2011 09:11 AM | Updated as of Jul 19 2011 01:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Reigning MVP and former Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is the eighth and last member of the stellar NBA cast playing Smart Gilas Pilipinas and a PBA selection in a dream two-game series on July 23 and 24 at the Araneta Coliseum.

MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio, whose group is organizing the blockbuster event dubbed the Ultimate All-Star Weekend, said Rose will complete the eight-player roster headed by five-time champions Kobe Bryant and former ROY awardee Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.

"He (Rose) okay, there’s just one detail we're trying fix out," said Panlilio, who broke the news Friday night of the much-awaited two-day basketball extravaganza finally happening, yesterday.

Rose's name was being floated from the start when plans of the MVPSF leaked to the media right during the time when the NBA teams locked out their players for failing to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement.

It was only yesterday that Rose’s much sought appearance was officially confirmed.

The name of the former Memphis Tigers was also repeatedly being mentioned in commercials of the Ultimate All-Star Weekend being shown on TV5 Sunday night or on the eve of the official announcement.

Just on his third NBA season, Rose has already won individual and team accolades having snared the ROY and NBA trophies while leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals before succumbing to eventual losing finalists the Miami Heat.

The star-studded NBA cast will thus comprise of Rose, Bryant, who will coach the squad, Paul, Fisher, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, James Harden of the Oklahoma Thunder, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Reigning ROY and slam dunk champion Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was supposed to play and join the side slam dunk event but begged off in the last minute to attend his brother’s wedding in the United States.

Two-time scoring champion and former ROY Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder was earlier reported to be joining the team but negotiations of bringing him to the country to play bogged down.

The event, which came into fruition thanks to Smart, PLDT, Meralco, Maynilad, TV5, Metro Pacific Tollways and Investment Corp. and Philex Mining, will feature Kobe and the gang against the Chot Reyes-mentored PBA team at 7 p.m. on July 23 and versus the Rajko Toroman-coached Smart Gilas at 1 p.m. the following day.

James Yap and Marc Pingris of BMeg, Mark Caguioa and JC Intal of Ginebra, Arwin Santos and Rabeh Al-Hussaini of Petron Blaze, Ryan Reyes, Jason Castro and Larry Fonacier of Talk N’ Text, Sonny Thoss and LA Tenorio of Alaska, Sol Mercado of Meralco, Gary David of Powerade, Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine and Danny Seigle of Air21 will comprise the PBA team.

Talk N’ Text’s Kelly Williams, Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo, Meralco’s Asi Taulava and Air21’s Dondon Hontiveros will suit up with the Nationals, who are on the thick of preparations for the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.

Smart Gilas’ other members are naturalized Marcus Douthit, captain Chris Tiu, co-skipper Mark Barroca, JV Casio, Mac Baracael, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Lutz, Dylan Ababou and Jason Ballesteros.