The NCAA showcases its best talent in the third NCAA All-Star on Friday that features an All-Star game, a slam dunk competition, a three-point shootout and the newly-introduced Shooting All-Stars and the Skills Challenge at The Arena in San Juan City.
The East's Jio Jalalon of Arellano and the West's Rey Nambatac of Letran lead a stellar cast that also included Arellano's Kent Salado, Perpetual Help's Bright Akhuetie, San Beda's Davon Potts and Donald Tankoua and Jose Rizal's Teytey Teodoro and Paolo Pontejos in the one-day festivities that begins at 1 p.m.
"This year's NCAA All-Star edition offers more excitement because we've introduced a pair of new events," said NCAA Management Committee chair Jose Mari Lacson of Season 92 host San Beda.
"Also, we also have some new talented players that came out from this year's batch that should add more spice to an already talent-laden cast," he added.
The East will also be composed of San Beda's Dan Sara, Arellano's Julius Cadavis, Jose Rizal's Ervin Grospe, Perpetual Help's Gab Dagangon and AJ Coronel, San Sebastian's Michael Calisaan, Ryan Costelo and Jerick Fabian.
Letran's McJour Luib and Jomari Sollano, Mapua's Darell Menina, Andrew Estrella and Exe Biteng, Lyceum of the Phl U's Ian Alban, MJ Ayaay and Wilson Baltazar, Emilio Aguinaldo's Jorem Morada, Francis Munsayac and Sidney Onwubere, and St. Benilde's JJ Domingo, Yankie Haruna and Christian Fajarito complete the West's roster.
The West, which was mentored by ex-Letran coach Aldin Ayo, edged the East, 89-88, with former St. Benilde standout Jonathan Grey and ex-Letran star Mark Cruz delivering the clutch plays to even up their series at one game apiece.
The East will come in as the slight favorite though as the West will be without reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme and CJ Isit of Mapua, Mike Nzeusseu of LPU and Hamadou Laminou of Emilio Aguinaldo, whose names were not submitted by their respective schools due to various reasons.
The three-point shootout and slam dunk competition should also generate the same attention as the game with St. Benilde's Yankie Haruna and LPU's Wilson Baltazar out to finally win the slam dunk and three-point shootout title, respectively, after coming close to win it a season ago.
LPU's Jebb Bulawan won the dunk crown while Letran's Mark Cruz emerged the three-point shootout king last year but will not see action on this one.
The biggest barriers to Haruna's title retention bid will come from Arellano U's Lervin Flores and EAC's Sydney Onwubere.
The other dunk contest participants are Jose Rizal's Kim Aurin, Letran's Renato Ular, LPU's Jaycee Marcelino, Perpetual's Rommel Mangalino, San Beda's Eugene Toba and San Sebastian's Allyn Bulanadi.
Baltazar will face Nambatac, Arellano's Zach Nicholls, St. Benilde's Carlo Young, Mapua's Exe Biteng, EAC's Jervin Guzman, Jose Rizal's Paolo Evardo, San Sebastian's RK Ilagan, Perpetual Help's McKevin Velasquez and San Beda's AC Soberano.