Nationals face another tough test in Gilas-reinforced Luzon All-Stars in Batangas 
After coaching kids, Leo Austria handles the Luzon All-Stars against Gilas in the second leg of the All-Star week. Jerome Ascano 

BATANGAS City – NLEX coach Yeng Guiao takes his turn at calling the shots for Gilas Pilipinas, this time against Leo Austria’s Team Luzon as the PBA All-Star Week continues on Friday at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The national squad dropped a heartbreaker in Mindanao last Wednesday and will look to regain lost pride in the annual ballfest against a bigger and more talented Luzon side.

June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Gabe Norwood and Kiefer Ravena banner the national squad alongside the likes of Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Jio Jalalon and Carl Bryan Cruz in the game presented by Phoenix Fuel.

Gilas standouts Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro and Matthew Wright will lead the Luzon squad up front alongside hometown hero LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Ian Sangalang and Raymond Almazan.

Chris Newsome, meanwhile, will look to keep his title as the league’s top aerial ace as he defends his Slam Dunk crown in the key piece of the All-Star side events.

Newsome will be taking on a stiff challenge from multi-time slam dunk king Rey Guevarra and high flying rookies Renz Palma and Lervin Flores. Completing the cast is Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Marion Magat.

Maliksi, for his part, will be defending his title in the three-point contest against a deep pool of the country’s top marksmen. Challenging the Blackwater star are former champions Romeo and James Yap alongside several other snipers in Lassiter, Lee, Wright, Tenorio, Pringle, JVee Casio, Ronald Tubid, KG Canaleta, and Larry Fonacier.

Kicking off the festivities will be the Obstacle Challenge which will pit the country’s top big men against each other.

Asi Taulava banners the cast alongside Sonny Thoss, Raymond Aguilar, JP Erram, Kelly Nabong, Russell Escoto, Ken Bono, Justin Chua, Aldrech Ramos, Beau Belga, Gabby Espinas, and Yousef Taha.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11