Before the PBA’s brightest stars share the court for the highly anticipated All-Star game, Beau Belga, James Yap, and Rey Guevarra will first embark on a bid to retain their respective Skills Challenge titles.
Up first will be Rain or Shine’s burly center Belga, who came up on top in last year’s Big Men edition of the Obstacle Challenge. He previously bested Poy Erram and Gabby Espinas after finishing the course in 21.7 seconds.
Keeping up with the NBA’s trend of putting bigs in contest, this year will once again comprise exclusively of centers; including Yousef Taha (TnT Katropa), Noy Baclao (Alaska), Justine Chua (Phoenix), Moala Tautuaa (NorthPort), Raymar Jose (Blackwater), Prince Caperal (Barangay Ginebra), Brian Faundo (Meralco), Russel Escoto (Columbian Dyip), and Rafi Reavis (Magnolia).
His RoS teammate James Yap, meanwhile, will look to continue his hot-shooting start to the season by trying to bag his third Three-Point shootout crown as he goes up against the best snipers in the league today. Yap sizzled in last year’s final round by dropping 9-out-of-10 money balls en route to 24 total points. He edged out Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo last year.
Yap will once again have to weather a strong lineup of accurate challengers, with last year’s foes LA Tenorio (Barangay Ginebra), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel), and Matthew Wright (Phoenix) returning for another crack at the title. Robert Bolick (NorthPort), Simon Enciso (Alaska), Philip Paniamogan (NLEX), Michael Digregorio (Blackwater), Reden Celda (Columbian Dyip), Baser Amer (Meralco), Roger Pogoy (TnT Katropa), and Peter June Simon (Magnolia) round up the list of participants.
Last but definitely not the least, Rey Guevarra will look to continue his dominance of the skies, as he tries to go for history by tying KG Canaleta’s record of five Slam Dunk titles. The Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters forward turned back game challenger Renz Palma last year with an effortless windmill slam off the bounce in the final round.
Palma (Blackwater) returns this year to avenge the loss, while Chris Newsome (Meralco), Lervin Flores (NorthPort), and CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip) complete the participants.
The All-Star festivities will take place on March 29-31 in Calasiao, Pangasinan.
(Images from PBA)
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