Petron hotshots Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter and Rain or Shine stalwarts Paul Lee, Chris Tiu and Beau Belga banner the PBA selection that hosts the visiting Shanghai Sharks in a friendly on May 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Air21 coach Franz Pumaren calls the shots for the PBA squad that will also feature GlobalPort’s Willie Miller, Air21’s KG Canaleta and Mike Cortez, Meralco Bolts’ JR Reyes and Cliff Hodge and Barako Bull’s Doug Kramer.
It’s a guard-heavy team testing its mettle against Yao Ming’s tall Shanghai team that will be coming over for a six-day visit highlighted by goodwill games against the PBA selection and the FIBA Asia-bound Gilas Pilipinas.
The Sharks and the Nationals square off in the first game on May 6 over at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Coach Chot Reyes is fielding Gilas players who are already free from their commitment with their mother teams in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup. They will be backed by Gilas cadet players and naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
It’s the same reason why players from Alaska, Talk n Text, Barangay Ginebra and San Mig Coffee are not part of Pumaren’s team.
Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas is part of Shanghai’s regular lineup in the CBA but it’s doubtful whether he’s coming over to Manila.
The Shanghai club is best known as the team that developed Yao Ming before he entered the NBA.
With the 7-foot-6 Yao on the team, the Sharks made the CBA finals three years in a row (in 1999–2000, 2000–2001, 2001–2002), facing the Bayi Rockets each time. They were runners-up the first two years, but won the CBA championship for the first time on their third try, snapping a string of six Bayi Rockets championships in a row.
Among the notable Shanghai players are Liu Wei and Zhang Zhaoxu, who are both members of the Chinese national basketball squad, and Taiwanese superstar Tseng Wen-ting. (SB)