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News » NBA Legends meet PBA Greats

NBA Legends meet PBA Greats

NBA Legends meet PBA GreatsBasketball fanatics who missed watching the recently concluded National Basketball Association ( NBA ) Asia Challenge missed half of their life! That's no exaggeration.An exhibition game featuring popular NBA legends, including Dominique Wilkins, Tim Hardaway, Vlade Divac and Robert Horry, along with stars from the NBA Development League (NBDL) played against a team of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) legends and superstars.  But what makes the game memorable was the participation of none other than  the six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who led the NBA coaching staff.Most valuable playerBefore the festivities and the much awaited exhibition game, members of the press had the chance to meet participating players including Basketball Hall of Famer Abdul Jabbar.  It was an informal press conference that had NBA players mingle with the press.  During the presscon, Abdul-Jabbar mentioned that it's his fourth time to visit Manila and he is always working.  "It's the Philippine Islands man! I have yet to visit the islands and [its] white sandy beaches," he tells.Abdul-Jabbar also told stories about their tour.  "The guys are exhausted, since this is the last leg of the tour.  But don't let that fool you, they are ready to get out there and play."When asked if he was going to play, his immediatelyreplied: "No.  I'm just going to watch the game from the sidelines."On a more personal note, Abdul-Jabbar disclosed how he spends most of his time in Los Angeles, California, although his wife and kidslive in the Bahamas.  He has a son who used to play for four different teams in the NBDL and Europe.  "He tried, you know.

He's33 now," he shares.Meanwhile, Abdul-Jabbar also revealed future plans of spearheading a series of goodwill and charity work through Basketball in various parts of the globe in the coming months.Tip offThe starters for the visiting NBA team were former Sacramento King and 1989 Mr. Europa 7’2 Serbian center Vlade Divac, “Mr. Killer Crossover” and five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, seven-time NBA champ “Big Shot Bob” Robert Horry, Billy Thomas, and “The Human Highlight Film” Dominique Wilkins, the game’s most ferocious windmill dunker who constantly challenged every dunker’s imagination in the 80’s, including His Airness himself, Michael Jordan. The Legends were reinforced by D-League standouts Marcus Hubbard, Rio Grande Valley Vipers; Chris Ellis, Sioux Falls Skyforce; Derrick Dial, Tulsa 66ers; Lanny Smith, Idaho Stampede; and Billy Thomas and Russel Robinson from the Colorado 14ers. The team was headed by Coach Rory White who had a five year stint in the NBA .On the other hand, the PBA Legends were comprised of equally big names in the local Basketball such as: “The Point Lauriat” and the PBA’s leader in three point shooting average Ronnie Magsanoc; the only PBA cager who won the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season, “The Tower of Power” Benjie Paras; 1998 PBA MVP “Captain Marbel” Kenneth Duremdes; PBA’s career leader in three point field goals made and most three pointers made in a single game, “The Triggerman” Allan Caidic;and one of only two four time PBA MVP, “The Captain” Alvin Patrimonio. Rounding up the cast are current and up and coming stars: Sonny Thoss, Willie Miller, Wynne Arboleda, Marc Pingris, Joseph Yeo, Dondon Hontiveros, Enrico Villanueva, Arwind Santos, and Jay-R Reyes. National Team Coach Joseller “Yeng” Guiao guided the PBA stalwarts.American Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Anne Kenney opened the game with the ceremonial toss as the sizable crowd cheered and chanted to their hearts content. Every converted shot, dunk, steal, and assist from either team was appreciated by the fans in attendance. Early on in the game, Tim Hardaway showed everyone why heis considered one of the best point guards in the NBA during his prime, He schooled Wynne Arboleda on both ends of the court without evenbreaking a sweat. The first quarter was a Hardaway dribbling clinic.Dominique Wilkins was clearly the main man for the NBA Generations team. He is pushing 50 and had clearly gained weight but nevertheless,he still showed flashes of brilliance. He scored in bunches with hissoft touch from the perimeter and was virtually unstoppable in the paint-registering five rebounds, two steals, one assist, and a total of 28 points to top all scorers.  Everyone expected to have fun, however, the PBA team wanted to keep it resepectable. And they did just that – during the first half of the game at least. The PBA Greats managed to put up a good fight, standing up to the visiting team through two ties and 10 lead changes. Thanks to the grit and determination of Alvin Patrimonio who scored nine points and grabbed eight boards, and the prolific shooting of Allan Caidic, Team Philippines trailed by only five points after 20 minutes of play (41-46). Caidic bombarded the Big Dome with five consecutive three pointers shooting 50 percent from the beyond the arch and energizing the crowd like he did back in the day. There was even a point in the game when Billy Thomas was shaking his head while keeping a close eye on Caidic, as if to say “You are not going to sink another three pointer. Not on my watch!”  To say the half-time show was a blast is an understatement. Sly “The Silver Fox,” the New Jersey Nets official mascot did all sorts of crazy antics, leaving the crowd laughing and cheering incessantly. The New Jersey Dunking Divas also showed why they are called just that. They actually do acrobatic dunks, with the help of a trampoline and a couple of catch mattresses of course. Breathtaking aerial stunts and cool dance moves set these cheer dancers apart. To top it all off, Sly joined the ladies in a hilarious number, ripping his Basketball jersey off, revealing a skimpy black jumpsuit made of spandex while dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”  This totally brought the house down.Back in the gameAfter the break, the Americans sent a message to our boys that they were going to kick it up a notch when coach White sent his youngminor leaguers to battle. As expected, the matchups, if you can callit that, were clearly lopsided. A good example was when Benjie Parasentered the game and was assigned to guard Vlade Divac. The height disparity was so obvious that it almost didn’t seem fair. Chris Ellis, the seven-foot NBDL center, dominated the paint and grabbed almost every loose ball. There was even a point in the game where he grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds in a single play. He is a work horse in every sense of the word. The NBA Generations team weren’t done yet. Marcus Hubbard was fielded in to replace Robert Horry and boy did this kid leave an impression. He had the hops of a young Dominique Wilkins. Guards Lanny Smith and Russel Robinson threw alley oops at him, and he was able to convert on both tries. There wasthis sequence in the game when he dunked the Basketball and you could actually see his elbows were about an inch or two away from the rim. Talk about hang time. Hubbard displayed his shooting touch by converting two consecutive three pointers as well. The Americans put the pedal to the metal and never looked back. By the end of the third quarter the NBA Legends were leading 79-60. Willie Miller became the silver lining for the PBA Greats when he carried the Nationals on his back late in the game. He was able to control the pace of the game for the Pinoys, dishing out several assists to Enrico Villanueva and converting a couple of threes himself. Miller managed to penetrate the defense of the young D-League guards – a task that was truly easier said than done. Villanueva finished with 15 points and Miller with 14. Despite the valiant effort of this duo, the NBA Generations team slowly pulled away. As expected, the NBA Generations team proved to be too much for our PBA hardcourt heroes. The final score, 109–86.Right after the final buzzer sounded, Kareem took to the floor and thanked everyone for the hospitality and warm reception that the Filipinos have shown his crew of ballers. He hinted that he hopes to be back and for some rest and recreation.This recently concluded project of the NBA in collaboration with the PBA is one that will be remembered. Basketball fans are happy to know that this will become a regularundertaking between the two. Who do you think will be next team of NBA Legends that will visit Manila? Your guess is a good as mine.(Write the author at

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 24, 2009


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