SMB BRINGS IN NBA VET; T-MAC, DANNY SUSPENDED

MANILA, December 5, 2003  (STAR) By Abac Cordero From Phoenix to Los Angeles, Dallas to Miami and finally Detroit.

Thatís the kind of NBA experience Cedric Ceballos will bring to the PBA when he sees action for San Miguel Beer tonight in the resumption of its best-of-seven title showdown against Coca-Cola at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Tigers bounced back the other night, tying the series with a 103-79 victory marred by a headbutting-shoving-punching incident between Coca Cola import Tee McClary and SMB power forward Danny Ildefonso with 9:53 left in the third quarter.

The two players were ejected and were suspended one game each by PBA commissioner Noli Eala. For punching McClary in the face, Ildefonso was also fined P30,000. The Coca-Cola import took a P15,000 penalty for hitting Ildefonso in the back.

The 34-year-old Ceballos is scheduled to plane in this morning and will have just a couple of hours of rest before he suits up for the 7 p.m. match where the winner gains a pivotal 2-1 and moves two wins away from the Samsung Reinforced Conference crown.

Ceballos was called in to replace the injured Kwan Johnson. Team officials said Ceballos will be here on temporary basis, depending on how he can easily blend with the Beermen or how fast Johnson can recover from the groin injury suffered in SMBís Game One victory.

Ceballos will be the third import for San Miguel in this season-ending tournament ó after Shea Seals who also got injured and Eric Dailey who simply wasnít up to the task.

While color has developed in the series between two sister teams, all eyes will be on Ceballos, a legitimate superstar who played in the NBA from 1990 until 2001, a stint spiked by the 1992 Slam Dunk title, a 50-point game in 1994 and an aborted stint in the 1995 All-Star Game (making it to the roster but missing it because of a knee injury).

Ceballos was drafted No. 48 by the Suns in 1990 and was traded to the Lakers in 1994. He hopped in with the Mavericks in 1997, then rejoined the Suns and again the Mavericks before playing for the Heat and the Pistons in his final playing days in the NBA.

In a game against the Minnessota Timberwolves in December of 1994, Ceballos shut the lights out with a 50-point game. It was a personal-high in the NBA for the product of California State.

In short, Ceballos will bring to the PBA, and San Miguel in particular, an inch-thick of shining credentials.

But first, he must be on one of those planes coming in from the US.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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