GILAS PILIPINAS, PBA STARS EMBARK ON NATIONAL TOUR

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A repeat of the Gilas Pilipinas-PBA selection matchup is set.

The Philippine Basketball Association presents the two teams in a national tour that serves as the final stage of the national team’s buildup for the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship that the country is hosting Aug. 1-11.

The Nationals and the PBA stars face off on July 19 in Davao, four days later in Cebu and on the 26th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

And it’s expected to be a slam-bang series just like their showdown in the recent PBA All-Star Game in Digos, Davao del Sur that ended in a standoff.

The Nationals are done with their Lithuanian training and their defense of their Jones Cup championship in Taipei as they go on their Luz-Vi-Min tour with the PBA stars to be handled by Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.

The series could also serve as coach Chot Reyes’ basis in naming his Final 12 for the Asian eliminator to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Reyes’ pool is down to 15, namely Marcus Douthit, Sonny Thoss, Junmar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gary David, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag and Ryan Reyes. Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger are out due to health problems.

Challenging the Nationals in the series are Calvin Abueva, Cyrus Baguio, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Alex Cabagnot, KG Canaleta, Jayvee Casio, Joe Devance, Chris Ellis, Arwind Santos, PJ Simon, Chris Tiu and Jay Washington.

Most of them were with the PBA select team that fought the Nationals to a 124-124 tie in the last All-Star Game.

Out are James Yap, Mark Caguioa and Marcio Lassiter, and in their place came in Devance, Tiu, Simon and Barroca.

Chan banged away a three-pointer off Alex Cabagnot with six-tenths of a second left, capping Gilas Pilipinas’ bristling chase from 11 points down as the Nationals forced the standoff during the All-Star Game

Castro, David, Fonacier and Thoss came through with clutch baskets of their own in a mighty endgame Gilas siege saving the Nationals from what could have been an embarrassing loss.

Santos, a member of the national team to the 2009 Tianjin Asian joust, sizzled with a game-high 27 points and shared MVP honors with Chan.

It had appeared a won ball game for the PBA stars as Belga canned in two charities giving them a 120-114 lead with 1:14 left.

But Chan and David knocked in a trey each and Castro buried two foul shots in a strong Gilas finish forging the tie.

The two teams settle their score in their national tour. (SB)

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