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Cebu All-Stars to test Gilas Sunday

The PBA All-Star week culminates with what could be the toughest test on the road for Gilas Pilipinas
The national team faces a formidable Cebu All-Star side on Sunday at the Hoopsdome in Lapu-Lapu City to cap a busy, three-leg series that began in Cagayan de Oro and had a stop in Lucena City.

And the league saved its best for last as Gilas will be going up against a team to be handled by multi-titled coach Tim Cone and bannered by three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, two-time MVP James Yap, back-to-back Philippine Cup Finals MVP Chris Ross, and scoring champion Terrence Romeo.

Both Gilas and the Cebu All-Stars are arriving down South by Saturday.

The nationals so far had their hands in dealing with the Mindanao and Luzon All-Stars, and this one against the Cebu selection is expected to be the most daunting of the three as guaranteed by Cone.

“Our approach is that we’re there for a purpose. It’s not an All-Star game in our minds but were there for a purpose to get the national team ready,” said the Barangay Ginebra mentor.

“So I expect our guys to go out and play, take it seriously, and really go at it.”

Gilas is using the All-Star week as part of its preparation for next month’s Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The May 12-18 tournament serves as qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup set in August in Beirut, Lebanon.

And Cone is more than willing to provide the nationals a tough competition given the talent he has in his team.

“That’s the beauty of this kind of All-Star games. I’ve never been a fan of all-star teams because they kind of just try to fool around,” said the owner of the most number of championships won in the league at 19.

“But because you’re doing something for the national interest, it makes this one exciting,” added Cone.

“We’ll have talent and will do our best of using our talent against them.”