Who are your picks for the All-Star Games side events?
Mark Macapagal is gunning for a fifth three-point shootout crown, but will his return to the Meralco Bolts serve as a good sign for him to return the crown?
Another determined competitor, Jonas Villanueva, is back in tip-top condition, and he is poised to likewise win the Skills Challenge event he ruled for so many years.
And KG Canaleta? No, unfortunately, he won’t be back to compete in the slam dunk competition and eye an unprecedented sixth title. Instead, he would concentrate on making those long tombs under time pressure.
With Canaleta pulling out, it looks like Justin Melton of Purefoods Star and Rey Guevarra of Meralco, two of the finest rim-rattlers in the league, are once again disputing the slam dunk crown.
As the PBA takes a break and gears up for the annual festivity of the All-Star Weekend in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the competitors in the side events are doing extra work in practice and trying to push for another run.
“Nagsho-shooting na ako ng extra sa practice,” said Canaleta. “Para naman pagdating ng All-Star, hindi tayo kulelat.”
Macapagal believes he has the edge because of his experience of winning the three-point shootout several times. He had won the event the year before, and had three consecutive wins prior to being dethroned in 2013 by Chris Tiu in Laoag.
“Siguro dahil rin iniisip nung mga tao nagawa ko na before, pero mabigat yung laban ngayon. Malalakas yung kasali,” added Macapagal.
Among the players entered in the three-point shootout include: retired PBA player Jimmy Alapag, rookie LA Revilla of Kia and surprise participant Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer.
Villanueva, a former undisputed Skills event champion, was dethroned by his former teammate, Mark Barroca, last year.
The NLEX guard, however, is determined to regain the title he held the past few years.
“Kukunin ulit natin yan,” he added.