AIR21 Express coach Franz Pumaren will handle the PBA selection when it plays the Shanghai Sharks in an exhibition game on May 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pumaren, who steered the Express to a quarterfinal stint in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, is calling the shots for a team anchored on the Petron trio of Arwind Santos, shooter Marcio Lassiter, and playmaker Alex Cabagnot.
Other members of the selection include Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and Paul Lee, Barako Bull center Doug Kramer, Air21 forward Nino Canaleta, and Globalport’s Willie Miller.
“It would really be a good experience on my part and for the players because this is an opportunity also to gauge our talent level versus the Chinese. We all know that basketball is becoming more and more popular now in China,” Pumaren told Spin.ph on Wednesday.
The Sharks, a champion franchise in the Chinese Basketball Association owned by former NBA star Yao Ming, is flying in for a six-day visit next month to play a couple of exhibition games and conduct basketball clinics.
The 7-foot-6 Yao, drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Rockets in 2002, is expected to be the main attraction during the Philippines-China Friendship Games set from May 3-8.
The Sharks’ exhibition match against the PBA selection is actually the last part of their Manila itinerary as they will also play the Gilas Pilipinas national team in a similar exhibition match on May 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The game against Gilas Pilipinas serves as a tune-up for the Nationals who are now training and preparing for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship to be held in the country this August.