MANILA, July 20, 2006 (STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - It’s the culmination of a month-long program that began with a live showing of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals on a large movie screen and you just can’t miss the NBA Madness Celebrity Jam that’s set at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

NBA Asia marketing manager Carlo Singson promises a fun night for the entire family and the program includes a full-court celebrity game, live music performances and appearances by Philadelphia 76er Andre Igoudala, New York Knick Channing Frye, the stunning San Antonio Silver Dancers and the Atlanta Hawks’ mascot Harry the Hawk.

The celebrity game features stars like Richard Gomez, Gary Valenciano, brothers Zoren and Kier Legaspi, Anjo Yllana, Richard Gutierrez, Wendell Ramos, Elvis and Rocky Gutierrez, Antonio Aquitania, Robert Ortega, James Blanco, Ermito Garcia and cagers from the Coca-Cola Tigers pro team.

The bands lined up to rock are Parokya Ni Edgar, Sugarfree, K24/7, Join The Club and 7 Shots of Wisdom.

Tickets for the Celebrity Jam are on sale at TicketNet outlets and the Araneta Coliseum box office. Ticket prices are extremely reasonable at P250, P200, P150 and P50. A section of the stadium will be reserved for beneficiaries of local charities Special Olympics, the Council for the Welfare of Children and the Bright Child Foundation.

The NBA Madness is now on its sixth year in Manila. The last leg of the Madness mall tours will be launched today at the Araneta Coliseum parking lot and concourse and ends on Saturday.

The NBA Madness concept was inspired by the roving Jam Session, which is held during the annual NBA All-Star Weekend in the US. Both the Madness and Jam Session offer fans a variety of interactive options in a fun atmosphere that promotes basketball as a game for all ages. * * * It’s a busy offseason for several Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams.

Talk ‘N’ Text is now competing in the Southern California Pro Summer League in Long Beach, California, while Air21 is playing in the Super Kung Sheung Cup in Hong Kong.

San Miguel Beer will participate in the first Asian Professional Basketball tournament with Nigata Albirex of Japan, Sydney Kings of Australia, LG Sakers of Korea and the Chinese-Taipei national team in Taiwan on Aug. 11-19.

Sta. Lucia Realty will join the national squad in vying for the trophy at the Sultan’s Cup in Brunei.

Red Bull and Alaska are being tapped to inaugurate the PBA’s new season with an overseas game in Guam on Sept 22. The result will count in the standings even as the league will formally open the campaign here on Oct. 1. * * * National basketball coach Chot Reyes said yesterday he was shocked when he found out his name was floated as a possible replacement for Alaska coach Tim Cone with whom he once worked as an assistant. Reyes was in Taipei coaching in the Jones Cup when he was told of it.

Reyes and Cone are close friends and business partners. Their wives, Cherry and Cristina, are partners in the popular Makati hair salon Essensuals Toni and Guy at 6750 Ayala Avenue.

When Reyes was appointed national coach last year, Cone readily offered his services as an assistant.

"I am extremely pleased that Tim will continue as Alaska coach," said Reyes after learning of Cone’s contract extension the other day. "I do not know how my name surfaced as his possible replacement. I have great respect for the Alaska organization but I have no plans of leaving the San Miguel group." * * * Boxing referee Bruce McTavish recently called to point out that Oscar Larios’ cut over the left eye was opened by a blow, not an accidental butt, in the third round of his fight against Manny Pacquiao at the Big Dome. If opened by a butt, he would’ve ordered a one-point deduction on Pacquiao. If McTavish stopped the fight because Larios couldn’t continue, it would’ve ended in a technical draw.

"Only in the US, Germany and Japan is it not an automatic one-point deduction on the fighter who opens a cut with an accidental headbutt," explained McTavish.

In the Philippines as in most other countries, an accidental headbutt carries an automatic one-point deduction because the wounded fighter is handicapped by the cut.

Under unified international rules, a fight that is stopped because a fighter is unable to continue due to a wound inflicted by an accidental headbutt within the first four rounds is ruled a technical draw. If stopped after four rounds, it goes to the scorecards for a technical decision. An intentional headbutt is a different story as it could be grounds for disqualification.

"That’s why Larios’ cutman Miguel Diaz asked me after the third round if the cut was opened by a punch or a butt," said McTavish. "I told him it was from a punch and Diaz nodded his head."

The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) has a slightly different rule regarding the cut-off for a technical draw. According to GAB boxing official Nards Trinidad, the cut-off is the halfway mark for fights scheduled eight or less, meaning two for a four-rounder, three for a six-rounder and four for an eight-rounder. The cut-off is four rounds for 10 and 12-rounders. The cut-off in the unified rules is four rounds for a fight of any duration, including a four-rounder.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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