ALL-STAR  WEEK:  CAIDIC,  3  OTHERS  IN  A  SHOOTOUT  VS  PBA  CREAM  OF  THE  CROP

CEBU,  August 11, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Nelson Beltran - It’s the champion three-point shooters’ turn to rekindle their glorious moments in the 2004 PBA All-Star Week as Allan "The Triggerman" Caidic and three other retired gunslingers are featured in a shootout against the cream of the current crop in a side event in the All-Star Skills Competitions Saturday at the Mandaue Sports Center here.

Forget Rudy Hatfield, who like Danny Ildefonso, Danny Seigle, Jeffrey Cariaso and Dennis Espino will be missing the All-Star Game on Sunday at the Cebu Coliseum. The Coca-Cola squad informed the PBA yesterday Hatfield can’t join the mid-year spectacle because of an injury.

Alaska’s Don Allado will take Hatfield’s slot.

Nonetheless, the All-Star festivities could well turn out to be thrilling, exciting and fun-filled as hyped, for one, with the addition of the Legends Shootout Challenge offering a cash pot of P30,000 courtesy of businessman-sportsman Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Caidic, Al Solis, Boy Cabahug and Rhoel Gomez pick up from where Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Atoy Co, Philip Cezar and Co. left off last year as they try to showcase their old deadly shooting in a side event that could steal the thunder from the All-Star Skills Competitions Saturday.

This early, the event has generated great enthusiasm and interest since Solis, Cabahug and Gomez are all natives of this province.

Competing in the regular three-point shootout and looking to earn spots in the Legends Shootout are Alaska’s Mike Cortez, Coca-Cola’s Rob Wainwright, Barangay Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa, Purefoods’ rookie James Yap, Red Bull Barako’s Mick Pennisi, San Miguel Beer’s Dondon Hontiveros, Shell’s Ronald Tubid, Sta. Lucia’s Paolo Mendoza, Talk N Text’s Willie Miller, last year’s runner-up Ren-Ren Ritualo of Fedex and defending champion Jimmy Alapag of Talk N Text. The top four in the regular three-point event compose the squad challenging the Legends.

The All-Star festivities, sponsored by Talk n Text and supported by Gran Matador brandy, Viva mineral water, Accel, McDonald’s, Air21 Waterfront Hotel and Cebu Pacific, have actually started yesterday with All-Star Skills events participants, upon their arrival from Manila, visiting the Don Bosco Technical School, Vicente Sotto School and Cebu City Street Children Foundation for Kids Day Celebrations.

Red Bull’s Topex Robinson talked about the importance of education before varsity players of the Don Bosco Technical School.

"Ang edukasyon ay magbibigay sa inyo ng mas maraming oportunidad sa maraming bagay," said Robinson who received warm approval from the crowd.

Today, coaches Chot Reyes of Coca-Cola and Tim Cone of Alaska Milk, assisted by the skills events participants, conduct the Junior PBA Basketball Clinic at the Don Bosco Technical School gym and the Wheelchair Basketball Clinic at Mandaue Sports Complex. Set in the evening is the PBA Bar Rage where the All-Stars go on a bar-hopping spree.

The Legends Shootout will be a team competition event pitting the old-timers against the league’s current top shooters with players from both sides alternating turns on the 60-second, 5-rack, 5-ball-per-rack contest. Scores are added when all players have taken their turns to determine the winning team.

Solis, the 1991 champion, was quoted by a PBA insider to have said it should be an easy victory for the legends team.

"Tingin ko sa mga active players ngayon, walang mas magaling sa aming mga old-timers pag dating sa three-point shooting," he reportedly said.

But Caidic, the 1992 champion and 1994 runner-up, thinks otherwise.

"Siyempre mas kundisyon yung mga active players samantalang kami hindi na," Caidic said. "But we’ll give the fans something to be happy for."

Caidic named Alapag, Hontiveros, Yap and Ritualo as the players to beat in the regular three-point shooting contest and who could be among those they’ll be competing against.

Cabahug and Gomez were also champion three-point shooters with the former ruling the event in 1993 and the latter in 1997. Gomez, who spent most of his PBA career as role player at Alaska, also salvaged runner-up honors in 1998 and 1999.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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