Alaska Aces warm up for PBA Legends’ Return of the Rivals on Sunday
UNTV News • February 14, 2019 • 3991
Philippine basketball legends from Alaska Aces have begun flexing and pumping their forces in the run-up to the historic ‘Return of the Rivals’ benefit game on Sunday.
In their tune-up match on Monday at the Gatorade Hoops Gym in Mandaluyong, the Alaska Aces regrouped and fine-tuned things out in preparation for the competitive action against their prominent archrival, San Miguel team.
Although the hard-court heroes of the 90s and early 2000s may have aged a bit and are less robust as before, their basketball skills and heart for the game still remain strong as shown in their dribbling moves, layups and jumper shots.
“Unang una, ang maasahan dito is makikita nyo po yung mga players from the 90s and maybe early 2000, and it will be a sort of a reunion. Siguro maasahan niyo na medyo mabagal yung game…I’m sure kahit papaano maasahan niyo po na kahit papaano, there will be some competition pagdating pong dikdikan na yung laban. Alam namin the friendly game will disappear and it will be just like back in the day na walang gustong magpatalo,” Alaska’s Jojo “Mr. Clutch” Lastimosa said.
(Firstly, you will see PBA players of the 90s and maybe early 2000, and it will be a sort of a reunion. You can expect the game to be a little slower…but you can also expect there will be some competition when the game starts to heat up. We know that the “friendly game” will disappear and it will be just like back in the day where no one wants to back down.)
Alaska’s “The Jet” Jeffrey Cariaso said, “Don’t expect us to be as fast and as quick but we will do our best.”
The tune-up game is part of their preparation for the exhibition game on February 17, which will feature the prominent archrivals in PBA history: The San Miguel versus Alaska and the Barangay Ginebra against the Purefoods Hotdogs.
The Alaska and San Miguel teams will clash in the first game at 4:30 p.m.
The PBA Legends promise to bring fun and excitement to the viewers of their big reunion.
But beyond the entertainment and competitive action, the Return of the Rivals project has a far nobler purpose — extending assistance to former professional basketball players who are sick or have medical concerns.
The basketball charity event is a project of the Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista sa Pilipinas Foundation Incorporated, in cooperation with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and UNTV.
“Marami silang makikita. Yung ini-expect nila yung ganoon pa ring mga PBA legends. We play with pride, hindi lang for fun or money… so sa lahat ng mga fans ng PBA I hope to see you guys on February 17 sa Araneta Coliseum,” Johnny “The Flying A” Abarrientos said.
(They will see a lot. They will get what they expect from the PBA legends. We play with pride, not only for fun or money. So, all PBA fans, I hope to see you guys on February 17 at Araneta Coliseum.)
PBA fans can receive a free ticket when they bring any PBA Legends memorabilia to the UNTV office located at 907 EDSA, Philam, Quezon City, Philippines starting February 14 to 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Bernard Dadis
MANILA, Philippines — Fans went wild at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday (July 8) as the Milkmen served the Beermen their first taste of defeat at the conclusion of UNTV Cup Off PBA Legends off-season games.
Even the Legends themselves were amazed to feel their old aggressive self coming back to life just like the good old days as they hit the hardcourt.
“Believe it or not, iyong intensity noong nasa dulo (the intensity through the end of the game) it felt like the 90s again,” exclaimed Alaska’s Jojo “Mr. Clutchman” Lastimosa.
“So it was just like going back in time for the times. We were here 20 years ago, 25 years ago, the feeling was the same although a bit slower but the competition was there, the intensity was there,” he said.
“Sa totoo lang na-miss ko din talaga (Honestly, I missed [playing] so much),” said Kiko Adriano of San Miguel.
“The last time I played siguro 2008. Ito talaga ang ano ng player, iyong pride (This is the pride of a player) although medyo lack kami duon sa players pero up to the last na oras talagang laban pa rin (though we lack players but up to the last hour we continued fighting),” he said.
Basketball fans couldn’t sit still as they watch and shout to the breathtaking exchanges of double and triple shots, minute after minute of the game.
Indeed, a classic match they missed for decades.
Marlon Pangan is from a family of Ginebra die-hard fans. He made sure to witness the comeback of his idol Bal David into the hardcourt as he flaunted an old jersey of David like it was his ‘lucky charm.’
“Since 1994, inabutan ko talaga yung kalakasan nila (Since 1994, I’ve seen them when they were at the peak of their career) – Bal David, Marlo Aquino, Noli Locsin. Natutuwa ako kasi nandito kami. Hanggang ngayon, sinusuportahan pa rin namin mga games nila (I am happy that until now, we’re still here, supporting their games),” he said.
Alaska supporter Jeon Yantada goes all-out for his idol Willie “The Thriller” Miller.
“Parang bumagal na siya lumaki na pero yung tira niya sa labas parang (Stephen) Curry. Hindi naman nagbabago (He seemed to have slowed down a bit but his shots were like Stephen Curry’s. Nothing changed),” the Alaska die-hard fan said.
“Nanonood ako ng PBA kapag may San Miguel fight lang. Nag-cheer ako even pumusta ko sa kanila (I watch PBA only when San Miguel fights. I cheered for them and even placed a bet on them),” said Allan Bernales of his favorite team San Miguel.
It was an intense one hour inside the Big Dome as Alaska Aces hit the hardcourt with a vengeance against the strong San Miguel Beermen who defeated them in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game with only seven points, 96-83.
The Beermen started strong in the first quarter, leading the ball game with two points, 21-19.
But the Milkmen was also up for the win and led the second quarter with a three-point advantage, 37-34, thanks to Willie “the Thriller” Miller’s 10 points contribution.
San Miguel again dominated the third quarter with an 8-point lead after Chris Calaguio fired four three-point shots, 60-52.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos displayed his ‘deadly crossover moves’, pushing Alaska closer to lead, 70-68.
There was non-stop intensity as John Ferriols added a free throw and Eddie Laure jumped for two.
The Milkmen finally scored ahead of the Beermen, 71-70 as both teams went neck and neck, scoring tied twice at 71 and 72.
At the final one minute and 42 seconds, the Beermen had the chance to win the game when Kiko Adriano stole the ball and attempted a shot but missed.
At 1:03, Miller fired a three-point shot but Allan Caidic couldn’t just watch so “the Triggerman” delivered his ‘shooting touch’ of three, bringing the score to a third tie at 75.
The last 46 seconds of the ball game brought out the best of both teams.
Abarrientos ended the showdown with a final lay up during the remaining 12 seconds, securing Alaska’s championship title, 77-75, while fans singing “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska!” (Nothing can beat Alaska!)
Battle for 3rd: Ginebra vs. Purefoods
Crowd-favorite Ginebra and Purefoods battle for the third place prior to the championship game.
The Gin Kings toppled the Hotdogs in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game, 97-89.
But it was a complete turn-around as the Hotdogs emerged victorious after defeating the Gin Kings and secured the third spot in the PBA Legends Face Off, 98-75.
Six players from Purefoods contributed double-digit scores – Roger Yap (20); Alvin Patrimonio (16); Tony Boy Espinosa (14); Glenn Capacio (13); Dwight Lago (10) and Jerry Codinera (10).
Meanwhile, leading Ginebra with high scores were Bennett Palad (16); Mike Orquillas (14); and Bal David (11).
The Legends have nothing but praises to the one-of-a-kind charity basketball game organized by UNTV president and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon in cooperation with the PBA Legends Foundation chaired by former Crispa star Atoy Co.
“Congratulations to everybody. Siyempre giving back to the fans din ito, (Of course, this is also giving back to the fans,)” exclaimed Alvin ‘the Captain’ Patrimonio.
“Natutuwa ako sa mga fans kasi grabe yung cheers nila sa amin (I’m amazed with the way the fans cheered for us, so lively),“ he said.
“Congratulations to UNTV for making this event possible. We were very, very thankful hindi lang doon sa mga Legends na naglalaro kundi sa purpose nito (not only to the Legends who played but for the purpose of this game) – to help the Legends,” thanked Purefoods Bong ‘The Raven’ Ravena.
“Aside for the win this is for all the fans. Makabalik man lang kami sa kanila kahit maliit na kasayahan. Malaking bagay sa amin iyon (To give back to them and to be able to make them happy, that means a lot to us),” he added.
“Sana tuloy-tuloy pa at marami pang (ganitong) event (I hope for more of this event in the future). Thank you and all the best. More power Kuya Daniel and sa UNTV,” concluded Ginebra’s Bal ‘The Flash’ David.
The host UNTV has given the four teams P2-M which they donated to the PBA Legends Foundation. – with details from Bernard Dadis
These players have proven themselves timeless which makes them legends in the PBA hardcourt. But what does it take to be a legend? We asked the legends themselves.
“When you’re talking about being a legend, siguro iyong someone na nakapaglaro ng matatagal (maybe someone who has played for a long time). Kailangan may accomplishment ka, (you have to have an accomplishment) so you should have impact while you are playing. Your life off basketball should be spotless and impeccable for you to be considered a legend.” —Jojo ‘Mr. Clutch’ Lastimosa, PBA Legend Alaska
“Ang puhunan ng basketball players ay ang body. So kailangan pangangalagaan natin. Ito iyong magde-determine kung gaano kahaba ang lalaruin natin. Sa mga new generations of basketball players, minsan lang nag-na-knock iyong opportunity whether sa basketball or sa ibang field kapag may pagkakataon. Grab it. Take it. (The investment of basketball players is their body. We need to care for it. This will determine how long will we be able to play. For the new generation of basketball players, opportunity doesn’t often knock. Whether that is in basketball or other fields. Grab it. Take it).” —Kenneth ‘Captain Marbel’ Duremdes, PBA Legend Alaska
“Kapag naglalaro sila ibigay lang nila ang talagang nararapat, unang-una para sa team, para sa sarili nila, para sa pamilya. Dahil alam naman natin iyan ang nagbibigay buhay sa kanila. Huwag nilang pabayaan lalong-lalo na iyong mga sumusuporta sa kanila. (They should give what is expected of them when playing. Give it for the team, first of all, then for themselves and their families. Because we know, that’s what drives them. They should never neglect it, they should never leave their supporters.)—Philip ‘The Scholar’ Cesar, PBA Legend
“Aside from maglaro ulit kami together, ang added motivation doon is iyong makatulong kami sa kapwa manlalaro na nahihirapan ngayon. Iyon ang nagpapagana sa amin na maglaro ang tagal na naming hindi ginagawa ito. Alam namin na maganda ang patutunguhan ang aming ginagawa. (Aside from being able to play again together, the added motivation there is we are able to help other players who are having difficulties in life. That is what motivates us now. It has been a long time since we’ve done this. We know our actions will bear good fruits).” —Olsen ‘Rara’ Racela, PBA Legend San Miguel
The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) greatest players of all time returned to the hard-court Sunday night in a one-of-a-kind basketball-for-a-cause event.
Basketball fans and PBA supporters were excited to witness their “old-time, all-time” favorites dribble, pass, and shoot the ball at the Big Dome.
The four big rivaling PBA teams — Alaska versus San Miguel, and Ginebra versus Purefoods — battled in “The Return of the Rivals”, a project of the PBA Legends Foundation.
“Magandang adhikain na makalikom ng pera, makatulong sa mga dating manlalaro na kapag medyo dumating ang may karamdaman, may pangangailangan, matutulungan natin sila,” said PBA Legends Foundation chairman, Fortunato “Atoy” Co.
(It’s for a noble cause of raising money that will be used to help former players for when they get sick and in need.)
UNTV, led by its President / CEO Kuya Daniel Razon, gave the PBA Legends Foundation P 3 million after the two hardcourt matches.
The Legends expressed their gratitude for being part of the charitable endeavor.
“Siyempre para makaipon ito, para makatulong tayo sa iba, ito rin yung mas masarap na pakiramdam,” says The Tower of Power Benjie Paras.
(Raising funds to help others feels good.)
Purefoods’ “The Captain” Alvin Patrimonio said, “Lalo na Manila Clasico ang game ngayon, Thank you sa UNTV, PBA for the successful Return of the Rivals.”
While “The Flash” Bal David added, “Baka dumating na kami naman yung matulungan, so ibibigay namin ang lahat ng aming makakaya naming makatulong kami sa foundation namin,”
(There might come a time when we would be the ones to needing help, so we will do our best to contribute to our foundation.)
Alaska’s “Mr. Clutch” Jojo Lastimosa expressed, “It’s just nice to be a part of something na we are giving back to our fellow players, ex-players. This is a very worthy cause naisipan nila Atoy, Allan, big kudos to them. Congratulations to UNTV and Kuya Daniel for being a part of this whole program, I know this is only a beginning.”
(It’s just nice to be a part of something that we are giving back to our fellow players, ex-players. This is a very worthy cause. Atoy and Allan thought of this, big kudos to them. Congratulations to UNTV and Kuya Daniel for being a part of this whole program, I know this is only a beginning.)
According to Kuya Daniel Razon, supporting the PBA Legends does not end here.
“Ang atingginawangayonsa Return of the Rivals ng PBA Legends is pagsuportanatin doon sakanilang foundation natinulungan din natinna ma-organize satulong ng Dios. Naumpisan nayungkanilang foundation, after nun itonangang follow-up projects para magkaroonnamansila ng funding para dun samga dating manlalaro ng basketball nakailangangtulungan, medical assistance at iba’tibangbagay pa napwedengmaitulong pa sakanilanoongmismong foundation ng mgabasketbolista,” BMPI President and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon said.
(The Return of the Rivals of the PBA Legends is our support to their foundation which we are reinforcing to be organized, with God’s help. Their foundation has been kick-started. After that are follow-up projects for them to have funding for the benefit of the former basketball players who need help, medical assistance, and other things which we could do to help the basketball players’ foundation.)
The concept of creating a foundation for retired basketball players began in 2015.
The game was a fundraiser organized to give assistance to Avelino “Samboy” “The Skywalker” Lim Junior, who slipped into a coma after collapsing at a game in November 2014.
UNTV gave one million pesos to the foundation as assistance to Samboy Lim.
It was followed by another one million pesos which Kuya Daniel Razon gave as seed money of the Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyunal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas which is now called the PBA Legends Foundation.
Win or lose, though rivals on the hardwood, the PBA Legends were able to show their unity, collaboration, and solidarity which can never be withered by time. — NEL MARIBOJOC / UNTV News and Rescue
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