Retired ‘young’ players Jayjay Helterbrand and Dondon Hontiveros banner their respective teams in the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Faceoff, which kicks off on Sunday at the Pasig Sports Center.
Hontiveros rekindles the past as he dons the San Miguel Beer jersey anew; meanwhile, Helterbrand, the former PBA MVP, will be at the forefront of Ginebra San Miguel team’s campaign in the month-long, four-team meet that also features Purefoods and Alaska.
Both Hontiveros and Helterbrand rode off to the sunset in Asia’s pioneering pro league in 2017.
But the two earned the right to see action in the tournament that offers a PHP 1-million prize to the champion team. They are both well-qualified as per the age bracket of 40-year-old and above.
Helterbrand’s and Hontiveros’ presence is expected to add excitement to the meet that is an offshoot of the highly-successful ‘Return of the Rivals’ event staged last February, which also featured the four popular ballclubs.
“Kaya ipinanganak itong PBA Legends Faceoff, nung nakita nila (UNTV) na maganda pa ring panoorin at makikita mo yung reception ng mga fans ay maganda, kaya nangyari itong faceoff na ito,” said tournament commissioner Fortunato ‘Atoy’ Co in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila.
“Sabi nga nila sa alak, mas lumuluma, mas sumasarap.”
With Helterbrand at Ginebra are Bal David, Vince Hizon, Rudy Distrito, EJ Feihl, Marlou Aquino, Bobby Jose, Benny Cheng, Mike Orquillas, Banjo Calpito, and Pido Jarencio.
Joining Hontiveros at San Miguel, on the other hand, are Allan Caidic, Nic Belasco, Ato Agustin, Danny Ildefonso, Nelson Asaytono, Olsen Racela, Arnold Gamboa, Bong Alvarez, Francis Adriano, Danny Seigle, and Chris Calaguio.
Four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio will be at the forefront of Purefoods’ campaign along with frontcourt partner Jerry Codinera, Dindo Pumaren, Glenn Capacio, Bong Ravena, Richard Yee, Joey Santamaria, Bonel Balingit, Tony Boy Espinosa, Dwight Lago, Roger Yap, and Rommel Adducul.
Alaska has the least number of players suiting up with 10 led by Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, Jeffrey Cariaso, Edward Juinio, Rodney Santos, Eddie Laure, Willie Miller, John Ferriols, and Kenneth Duremdes.
“Masaya kapag nagkikita yung mga former teammates, former players. Masayang okasyon ito,” said the 67-year-old Co, a former MVP himself and regarded as one of the deadliest shooters in PBA history, during the forum presented by San Miguel Beer, Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
San Miguel battles Purefoods on opening day (June 2) at 12 noon, followed by the Ginebra-Alaska tussle at 2 p.m.
A week later, San Miguel takes on Alaska and Purefoods clashes with Ginebra.
The Alaska-Purefoods encounter and Ginebra-San Miguel collision on June 16 wrap up the elimination phase.
The Finals is set on July 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The meet is a project of the Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas Foundation Inc., (formerly PBA Legends Foundation), also chaired by Co, in cooperation with UNTV led by President and CEO Daniel Razon, with the aim of helping less fortunate former PBA players.
“After the tournament, the UNTV Cup will donate two-million pesos to the PBA Legends Foundation, kaya madadagdagan ang pondo namin,” said Co.
“Mas maraming pera, mas marami tayong matutulungan.”