DIGOS CITY - Arwind Santos and the rest of the PBA All-Star selection are one in saying they won't hold their punches when they test the mettle of Gilas Pilipinas in the main event of this week’s All-Star festivities on Sunday here at the Davao del Sur Coliseum.
"Bibigyan namin sila (Gilas Pilipinas) ng magandang laban. Siyempre, nandun pa rin naman ang pride kapag kalaban sila, so laban kami dahil alam namin, di sila papatalo," said the 6-foot-3 Petron forward, who was voted to start for the All-Star team under coach Luigi Trillo.
Rain or Shine's bruising center Beau Belga, who’s expected to have his hands full defending Gilas’ phalanx of big men, said he won't back down even if the All-Star selection is lacking in size.
"Basta pasensyahan na lang kasi trabaho namin ito. Hindi naman din kami basta-basta magpapatalo sa Gilas," added the 6-foot-6 Belga, the only legitimate center in the All-Star selection who’s playing in his first All-Star Game.
Alaska's top point guard JV Casio said he considers the game an opportunity to toughen Gilas, insistring the All-Star team is no pushover.
"Kahit naman sabihing exhibition lang `yung game, game naman kami lahat. Bibigyan namin sila ng magandang laro para makatulong sa kanila," shared Casio, himself a former member of the original Smart Gilas national squad of coach Rajko Toroman.
Other members of the All-Star selection are two-time MVP James Yap, reigning MVP Mark Caguioa, rookie Chris Ellis, Cyrus Baguio, Calvin Abueva, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Jay Washington and Niño Canaleta.
Gilas Pilipinas will be led by naturalized player Marcus Douthit, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Gary David, Jimmy Alapag, Ryan Reyes, Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, Sonny Thoss, LA Tenorio, and amateur center Greg Slaughter.
The Nationals will be arriving here on Friday.