By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
1 p.m. – All-Star Side Events
3 p.m. – All-Star Game
All eyes will be on Lyceum’s blue-chip recruit CJ Perez and San Beda’s undisputed leader Robert Bolick today when they lead their respective teams in the 2017 NCAA All-Star Game at The Arena in San Juan City.
Game time is at 3 p.m., with the 6-foot-2 Perez expected to show the way for Team Heroes built around the talents of top cagers from league-leading Lyceum, Jose Rizal University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Arellano University and Mapua University, with Pirates coach Topex Robinson calling the shots.
They will be going up against Team Saints – handled by Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez – which will have the combined efforts of main guys from defending champion San Beda, Letran, San Sebastian, Perpetual Help, and St. Benilde.
Tapped to back up Perez are fellow Pirates MJ Ayaay and Cameroon big man Mike Nzeusseu; Arellano’s Kent Salado, Lervin Flores and Allen Enriquez; JRU’s Teytey Teodoro, Ervin Grospe and Jed Mendoza; EAC’s Sidney Onwubere, Jerome Garcia and Francis Munsayac, and; Mapua’s Christian Bunag, Laurenz Victoria and JB Raflores.
The 6-foot-1 Bolick will have fellow Red Lions, Javee Mocon and Davon Potts, on his side anew along with Letran’s Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto and JP Calvo; host San Sebastian’s Ian Valdez, Alvin Baetiong and Kevin Baytan; Perpetual Help’s Prince Eze, Gab Dagangon and GJ Ylagan, and; St. Benilde’s Edward Dixon, JJ Domingo and Gerard Castor.
Spicing up the mid-season spectacle are several side events—Skills Challenge, Shooting Stars, Three Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest—starting at 1 o’clock.
San Beda hotshot AC Soberano will have his hands full in trying to defend his Three-Point Shootout title as he goes up against the likes of JRU’s MJ Dela Virgen, Wilson Baltazar of Lyceum, San Sebastian’s RK Ilagan and Onwubere, among others.
Meanwhile, a new king will be crowned in the Slam Dunk competitions, with reigning titlist Yankie Haruna of St. Benilde still nursing an injury. Tipped to contend heavily are Flores, San Beda’s Arnaud Noah and Allyn Bulanadi of San Sebastian.
In the Shooting Stars where each team should field a combination of current senior, junior and former players, JRU tries to defend its crown behind the troika of Mendoza, Light Bomber Toby Agustin and alumnus Paolo Pontejos.
The Skills Challenge should also be filled with excitement, with the likes of Arellano’s Levi Dela Cruz, Unique Naboa of St. Benilde, Lyceum’s Jaycee Marcelino and Munsayac among the protagonists.