CALASIAO, Pangasinan – It’s the first time both Louie Alas and Caloy Garcia will be coaching in the PBA All-Stars game.
They want the experience to be a memorable one by just having fun the entire game.
“Wala akong expectations. Ie-enjoy ko lang ito talaga,” said Alas upon arriving here on Friday.
“We just want to have fun for the fans,” Garcia said for his part.
The two makes their All-Star coaching debut Sunday as Alas calls the shot for the North team against Garcia’s South squad in the main feature of the league’s annual spectacle at the Calasiao Sports Complex.
Alas was part of the Alaska team that earned the right to handle the South team under Alex Compton during the 2015 edition of the meet in Palawan. Unfortunately, he failed to attend, prompting Compton to tap the services instead of Topex Robinson as deputy. They lost, 168-161.
Garcia meanwhile, had the opportunity to be part of the North All-Star coaching staff of Yeng Guiao during the 2016 hosting at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. They won over the South, 154-151.
Now that they’re the ones at the helm, both coaches said it’s definitely going to be a free-wheeling game.
“I will talk to the players kung anong klaseng game ang gusto nila,” said Garcia. “If you look at our line-up ang dami naming malalaki. So it’s going to be exciting. Baka throughout the game, yung isang Malaki namin gamitin namin sa wing. So we’ll see how the game goes.”
Alas said the All-Star coaching job is a mere bonus for him.
“Ang pangarap ko talaga is mag No. 1 for the twice-to-beat. Wala sa isip ko yung All-Star,” said the Phoenix mentor. “Pero since nandiyan nay an, siyempre very excited ka kasi iha-handle mo yung cream of the crop. So I’m excited na amkapag-compete at excited na maka-interact yung mga players.”
The All-Star coaching jobs were given to the mentors of the top two teams in the standings on March 10.
Garcia’s South squad is composed of James Yap, June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, Mark Barroca, Roger Pogoy, Chris Ross, Baser Amer, Terrence Romeo, Peter June Simon, Jio Jalalon, Asi Taulava, JP Erram and Mac Belo.
The North team of Alas is comprised of Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, Jason Perkins, Stanley Pringle, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Chris Banchero and Mark Caguioa.
Mark Pingris, a native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan, is in the roster listed as injured.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary when the All-Star game was finally institutionalized as a yearly affair, four players who played their first All-Star in 1989 were also added to the two teams.
The towering tandem of Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera will suit up for the South, while Ronnie Magsanoc and close friend Benjie Paras are going to see action for the North.
Alas said he already had a plan on how to utilize Paras and Magsanoc, a batch mate of him during his UAAP heydays.
“Sila ang gagawin kong coach. Yun ang unang gagawin ko,” he said.