(STAR) By Nelson Beltran – It’s showtime.

The 2008 PBA All-Star Extravaganza reels off today with the league’s best aerial artists, finest three-point shooters, speedsters and upcoming stars showing their stuff before an expected sellout crowd at the West Negros gym.

To be decided in the All-Star Friday are the year’s sultan of slams, the three-point king, the rajah of the obstacle course and the battle for bragging rights between the rookies and the sophomores.

The North and South All-Star teams will spend most of the day touring the city for an outreach program and interaction with Negrense basketball fans but they will be on the sidelines during the staging of the All-Star skills events and the Rookies vs Sophomores Blitz Game.

It’s an action-packed All-Star Friday with KG Canaleta (slam dunk), Dondon Hontiveros (three-point shootout) and Willie Miller (obstacle course) defending their respective titles in the skills events which usher in the Blitz Game in this All-Star festivities sponsored by Pigrolac, Mighty Bond, Coke and Yakult.

Jay-R Reyes, LA Tenorio, Mark Andaya and Jireh Ibanes, who had significant contributions in the Freshmen’s 122-107 victory in the Blitz Game last year, look to win with the Sophomore team this time.

Koy Banal calls the shots for the Sophies who include Junjun Cabatu, Mark Isip, Magnum Membrere and Chris Pacana. They will be up against coach Adonis Tierra and rookies Joe Devance, Ronjay Buenafe, Chico Lanete, Samigue Eman, Doug Kramer, Ken Bono, Yousif Aljamal and Marvin Cruz.

Arwind Santos, the Blitz Game MVP last year, will no longer play for the Sophomore team as he has been voted to play in the All-Star Game.

This is the fourth staging of the Blitz Game introduced in the league in 2005 in Laoag City. The Sophies emerged victorious in 2005 and 2006 (Cagayan de Oro) before the Freshmen finally pulled one in 2007 (San Fernando, La Union).

The novel game counts three points for a dunk and allows a team only six seconds to bring the ball to the frontcourt and 18 seconds to beat the shot clock in a 10-minute-per-quarter duel. There’s no ejection but an automatic free throw is awarded for every foul over the regular six.

During the Blitz Game initial staging in 2005 in Laoag City, Bitoy Omolon scored six three-point dunks and totaled 35 points that went with seven rebounds and two assists.

Omolon again emerged the best performer in 2006, piling up 38 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Then, Santos took his turn to shine last year, coming through with 31 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The All-Star Friday will be aired on ABC-5 at 7 p.m. while the All-Star Sunday will be telecast starting 4:30 p.m.

Willie Miller and Jayjay Helterbrand, the co-MVP winners in the Baguio game, banner the North team including Mark Caguioa, Mark Pingris, Lordy Tugade, Kerby Raymundo, Nic Belasco, Mac Cardona, Ranidel de Ocampo, Arwind Santos, Rico Villanueva and rookie Ryan Reyes.

They’re up against hometown boy James Yap and teammates Asi Taulava, Danny Seigle, Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, Cyrus Baguio, John Ferriols, Dondon Hontiveros, Reynel Hugnatan, Peter June Simon, Sonny Thoss and Junthy Valenzuela.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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