COMMISSIONER Chito Salud said he sees the PBA Selection team’s coming exhibition game against the visiting Shanghai Sharks as a vehicle to help the government promote goodwill with China considering the burning issue the two countries had in the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
“The main purpose of that (game versus the Sharks) is goodwill. You know how our relationship with China right now,” said Salud.
“The PBA is doing this in cooperation with the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) through a goodwill basketball game.”
While the Selection team doesn’t mirror the PBA’s best of the best as several of the pro league’s stars are still competing in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, Salud is hopeful the exhibition match could create goodwill with the Sharks, owned by former NBA great Yao Ming.
Before playing the PBA Selection on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Sharks will be playing another exhibition game against Gilas Pilipinas on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Sharks are one of the well-known commercial teams in China mainly due to Yao’s ownership of the franchise.
The Chinese professional squad boasts of three top-notch players led by veteran playmaker Liu Wei, 7-foot-3 slotman Zhang Zhaoxu, and 6-foot-10 forward Ji Xiang.
Among the three, Liu has the most impressive credential, being an integral part of the Chinese national team’s FIBA-World Championship stint in 2002, 2006, and 2010. He also played in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
The PBA Selection will be coached by Air21 mentor Franz Pumaren and will be composed of Petron stars Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter; Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and Paul Lee, Air21’s Nino Canaleta and Mike Cortez, Globalport’s Willie Miller and Meralco’s JR Reyes and Cliff Hodge.