Old rivals face off in legends classic
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Legends will be revisited and old rivalries rekindled as the keenly awaited legends games, dubbed “Return of the Rivals” are played tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The big stars of San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Purefoods and Alaska Milk in the not-so-distant past return to the hardcourt and figure in a classic double-header held to raise fund for their foundation.

San Miguel and Alaska clash in a duel of grand slam teams at 4:30 p.m. while Ginebra and Purefoods bring back the fierce rivalry of the two teams’ original stars at 7 p.m.

“Mabagal na ang laro, but it will surely be still a battle for pride. Lalabas pa rin ang pride of the old rivals,” said four-time PBA MVP winner Alvin Patrimonio.

Robert Jaworski and Mon Fernandez, probably the biggest rivals in the PBA ever, will be present to coach their respective teams where they served as playing coach at the height of their popularity.

Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Ato Agustin, Bogs Adornado, Kenneth Duremdes, Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller and Jayjay Helterbrand are PBA MVP winners in the roster.

Stars are aplenty, including Jerry Codiñera, Jojo Lastimosa, Nelson Asaytono, Ronnie Magsanoc, Dindo Pumaren, Jeffrey Cariaso, Bong Hawkins, Marlou Aquino, Olsen Racela, Dondon Hontiveros, Al Solis, Vince Hizon, Noli Locsin and Bal David.

Joel Banal and Aric del Rosario call the shots for the Alaska team that will include Tony del Rosario, John Ferriols, Erwin Sotto and Rodney Santos, among others.

Alvin Teng, Freddie Abuda, Elmer Reyes, Biboy Ravanes and Christian Calaguio were among those who attended the SMB practices run by coaches Pilo Pumaren and Jong Uichico.

Among those who answered call from Ginebra are Rudy Distrito, Pido Jarencio, Joey Loyzaga, Bobby Jose, Benny Cheng, JV Gayoso, Benneth Palad and EJ Feihl. Sonny Cabatu, Mike Advani and Dodot Jaworski showed up in practice, though they stayed in the sideline.

The Hotdogs are enthusiastic as shown by the responses of Patrimonio, Codiñera, Pumaren, Magsanoc, Solis, Glenn Capacio, Bong Ravena, Bonel Balingit, Paul Artadi, Tonyboy Espinosa, Roger Yap, Joey Sta. Maria, Peter Naron, Richard Yee and Totoy Marquez.

Injuries won’t allow Rey Evangelista and Boy Cabahug to join the classic that will also feature side events in between games.

Balingit, Feihl and Sotto are set to battle in the Obstacle Challenge, featuring several stations where participants execute dribbling, passing, running and shooting. It’s usually joined in by guards in the PBA All Stars.

“Lamang siguro si EJ kasi may three-points yan,” said Patrimonio.

There’s also the Two-Ball Competition among the father-son pairs of the Hontiveroses, the Ildefonsos and the Duremdeses.

“There will be a lot of fun. I’m excited especially as I will compete with my son,” said Ildefonso, referring to his tandem with son NU standout Dave in the Two-Ball.  

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