DIGOS CITY — While the All-Star week gives players a chance to rest and recharge for the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio and San Mig Coffee’s Peter June Simon believe it would be unfair to the Davaoeños here and all basketball fans across the country if the PBA All-Stars will just go through the motions when they play Gilas Pilipinas on Sunday.
While admitting he still thinks of the Aces’ ongoing semifinal series with defending champion San Mig Coffee, Baguio vowed to give spectators a good show during the All-Star festivities.
“Oo nga eh naiisip pa rin (ang semifinals) pero ito (PBA All-Star), yearly na kasi ito. Ginagawa na ng PBA ito at saka para naman sa mga fans ito. Alam mo naman ang mga taga-Davao, di nakakapunta ng Manila para manood ng PBA. So kailangan din namin sila bigyan ng importansya,” Baguio told Spin.ph during their courtesy call on Davao del Sur Gov. Dodo Cagas at the Davao del Sur Coliseum.
Baguio, now in his ninth All-Star appearance since turning pro in 2003 as Red Bull’s 14th overall pick, said a lot of things have changed this year with the presence of young talents.
Baguio’s teammate, the energetic rookie forward Calvin Abueva, will be playing with him on Sunday against Gilas Pilipinas, which is using the All-Star game as part of its ongoing buildup for the Fiba-Asia men’s championships set this August in Manila.
“Siyempre, marami nang mas bata. Mas exciting lalo na’t iba na ang kasamahan ko, mga bata. Bibigay namin best namin para sa mga fans. Siyempre, magko-compete talaga kami against Gilas,” added Baguio, who is part of the All-Star team that will be handled by Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Simon, who hails from Makilala in North Cotabato, just an hour’s drive from Digos City, is a fan favorite here.
The San Mig shooting guard said he has set aside whatever semifinal concerns he has in order to connect with the fans in this part of Mindanao.
“Siyempre, nandito na kami sa semifinals, pero pagkatapos na ng All-Star saka namin mapag-uusapan kung ano gagawin namin sa semis,” Simon said, who’ll be part of Team Greats, a mixture of retired PBA players and active pro ballers, which will go up against Team Stalwarts on Friday.