(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Skills Competition
7 p.m. – Blitz Game
Even went to Narvasa to confirm participation.
Inside the boxing ring, countless highlights define the Hall of Fame career of Manny Pacquiao.
As a professional basketball player, however, he can count on the fingers of his powerful left hand what he has accomplished.
For instance, there was the debut game in last season’s Philippine Cup as rookie player-coach of then expansion franchise Mahindra (formerly Kia). And, of course, his very first point in the PBA when he made one of two free throws during the Commissioner’s Cup.
In the last Philippine Cup, Pacquiao finally made his very first field goal.
But that’s it.
Today, however, the eight-division world champion will have an opportunity to have a few more added to his cage reel when he participates in the Blitz Game between the Greats and Stalwarts in the 2016 PBA All-Star Weekend at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pacquiao, a late replacement for injured teammate LA Revilla, will play for the Stalwarts when they battle the Greats at 7 p.m., right after the Skills Competition featuring the Slam Dunk contest, Three-Point Shootout and the Obstacle Challenge at 4:15 p.m.
The main featured match between the North and South in the PBA All-Star Game is scheduled Sunday.
A member of the senate after he was elected during the May polls, the 37-year-old Pacquiao said he is thrilled at the opportunity to participate and enjoy the company of other participants in the Blitz Game.
“Masaya ako, excited. Lalaro ako,” said Pacquiao, who even went to PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa to confirm his participation after Mahindra’s 101-95 win against Alaska to improve at 4-0 last Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Pacquiao will be joined in the Stalwarts roster by Alaska’s Chris Banchero, Globalport’s David Semerad, Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan, and PBA legend Alvin Patrimonio, one of only two four-time MVP winners in the league (the other is Ramon Fernandez).
Also on the Stalwarts team are PBA D-League players Mike Tolomia, Russel Escoto, Raffy Banal and Bryan Cruz, and former PBA players Alvin Patrimonio, Nic Belasco, Topex Robinson and playing-coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
As for the Greats, the team will have rookie Maverick Ahanmisi of ROS, Kevin Alas of NLEX, Anthony Semerad of San Miguel Beer and Star’s Ian Sangalang, D-League’s Ed Daquioag, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy and Jonathan Grey, and ex-pros Bong Ravena, Noli Locson, Paolo Bugia and former MVP Johnny Abbarientos.
In the Slam Dunk Competition, defending champion Rey Guevara of Meralco will shoot for a third straight title when he battles Ginebra’s Franklin Bonifacio, NLEX’s James Forrester and teammate Chris Newsome.
The 6-foot-2 Guevara was declared co-champion with Star’s Justin Melton at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena back in 2014, and then bested Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar in Palawan last year. A win will tie him with KG Canaleta’s record of three straight from 2005-2007.
Canaleta, who will be one of the five judges in the contest, holds the record with five since he also won in 2010 and 2012.
In the Three-Point Shootout, Globalport’s flashy guard Terrence Romeo will try to defend the title as he goes up against the other sharpshooters in the PBA like 2009 champion James Yap of Star and Gilas Pilipinas teammate Jeff Chan of ROS.
Other players in the event are SMB’s Alex Cabagnot, Alaska’s RJ Jazul, Ginebra’s Jayjay Helterbrand, Blackwater’s Almond Vosotros, Meralco’s Jared Dillinger, NLEX’s Garvo Lanete, Phoenix’s Simon Encisio, TNT’s Troy Rosario and Canaleta.
In the Obstacle Challenge, Jeric Fortuna of Globalport will try to win back-to-back titles. He will be up against Ahanmisi, Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, SMB’s Chris Ross, Star’s Mark Barroca, Blackwater’s Carlo Lastimosa, Mahindra’s Paolo Taha, Alaska’s Chris Banchero, NLEX’s Eman Monfort, Phoenix’s Mark Cruz, TNT’s Jai Reyes and Newsome.