Ginebra, Alaska, NLEX All-Stars head straight to practice from Palawan as focus shifts to playoff race
NLEX big man Asi Taulava and Purefoods stars James Yap and Marc Pingris head to the bus that will take them to the airport after an eventful PBA All-Star Game in Puerto Princesa. Snow Badua

PUERTO PRINCESA - With their team's playoff chances hanging in tha balance, players from Ginebra and NLEX who took part in the PBA All-Star Game left this paradise on Monday and will head straight to practice once they reach Manila.

Ginebra All-Stars Gregory Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio will be joining the rest of the Kings in practice while NLEX will have a staffer that will pick up Asi Taulava at the airport and bring him straight to practice at the Meralco gym.

"We're heading straight to practice, we're still a bit tired but it's all part of our job. We have an obligation to the fans here and we also have the same obligation to our team and its fans," said Slaughter after the South vs North game.

Ginebra and NLEX have a Wednesday game at the resumption of the fight for playoff places in the Commissioner's Cup.

"Nag-adjust team ng practice sked. Instead of 1 p.m., naurong kami ng 2 p.m. para mahintay nila kaming tatlo nina LA at Greg," said Aguilar.

Taulava, who was saddled by a painful migraine attack during the All-Star centerpiece game, said he's been taking extra medicine to "shake off some virus."

The 6-9 slotman was also downed by flu when he arrived here last Wednesday.

Currently with a 3-4 win-loss record, NLEX isn't taking chances. The team  even bought tickets for Skills Challenge bets Jonas Villanueva, Eric Camson and KG Canaleta to take the earliest flight out of Palawan last Saturday.

"We really have to pull them out. We have two crucial games this week: one against Ginebra on Wednesday then GlobalPort on Sunday," said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre.

"We really had to pull them out of there kasi kailangan naming mag go hard sa practice, wala ng time. Si Asi na lang naiwan kasi kasali siya sa game," added the NLEX finance officer.

Ginebra forward Japeth Aguilar leaves for Manila. Snow Badua
Ginebra forward Japeth Aguilar leaves for Manila. Snow Badua

Also in a rush to join practice from Palawan were Alaska Aces superstar Calvin Abueva and rookie teammate Chris Banchero. Their coach, Alex Compton, and assisant Jeffrey Cariaso rushed to the airport after their game to catch the 8 p.m. flight back to Manila after coaching the South team.

"Nauna na sila coach kagabi kasi kailangan nilang i-prepare yung ensayo namin mamaya. Ako din doon na tutuloy," said Abueva as the Aces prepare for Blackwater Elite in Wednesday's curtain raiser.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @snowbadua