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News  


Pinoys to mirror All-Star Game


PhilBoxing.com




There’s talk that celebrities with Filipino roots are getting together to play basketball in a side event during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles on Feb. 16-18. Former world boxing champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. said the other day he’s been invited to join a proposed All-Star Pinoy Celebrity Game featuring Team Clarkson against Team Paras.

If it pushes through, the contest should be quite a spectacle. Los Angeles Lakers supersub Jordan Clarkson will spearhead one team while FIBA dunk sensation Kobe Paras, now undergoing residence at California State Northridge, will lead the other.

Donaire said he was told popular Fil-Am stars Bruno Mars, Batista and T. J. Perkins are in the invited list. Perkins, 33, is a former WWE cruiserweight champion who used to be known as The Pinoy Boy and The Fil-Am Flash in his early wrestling career. His mother is Filipina. Batista, 48, is a four-time WWE heavyweight titlist. His Filipino father David Bautista is a hair-dresser in Washington, D. C. Batista has accompanied Donaire in his march to the ring for three fights. He is the godfather of Donaire’s son Jarel. Mars, 32, is a popular recording artist whose mother Bernadette San Pedro Bayot is Filipina.

Perkins has come out on TV speaking in Pilipino endorsing the WWE shows on TV5. Batista has visited Manila and is a popular TV and movie action figure. Both wrestlers will likely be on opposite teams. Curiously, Mars was nicknamed Bruno by his Puerto Rican-Jewish father Peter Hernandez because at the age of two, he looked like wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino. Mars’ real name is Peter Gene Hernandez. So there’s a wrestling connection among Perkins, Batista and Mars.

Donaire said he used to play soccer as a boy but was never inclined to hoop. Another former Filipino world boxing champion Brian Viloria likes to play basketball and would be a fit for the event because he lives in Los Angeles. There is a campaign among Filipinos to vote Clarkson into the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18.

When and where the All-Star Pinoy Celebrity Game will be held is still a question mark. The traditional All-Star Celebrity Game showcasing NBA legends and Hollywood luminaries will be played at the Verizon Up Arena in the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 16. The skills events, including the three-point shootout and the dunk competition, will be staged at the Staples Center on Feb. 17. Standouts from the NBA G-League will face the Mexican national squad at the Staples Center early afternoon on Feb. 18 then the All-Star Game will be the climax of the festivities that night.

This year’s All-Star Game will introduce a novel format where the team rosters are chosen by two captains from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves. The captains will be the All-Star starters for the East and West receiving the most votes in their conference. For the second straight year, NBA players and media will join fans in choosing the All-Star starters. The fan vote accounts for 50 percent while the players and media, 25 percent each. Voting will end on Monday, Jan. 15.

Donaire was recently in Manila on a brief visit to witness the turnover of 100 homes to typhoon Yolanda victims in Lemery, Iloilo, by English philanthropist Greg Secker. While in town, Donaire met with TV5 CEO Chot Reyes and ABS-CBN sports head Dino Laurente who are both interested in the telecast rights for his fight against Irishman Carl Frampton in Belfast on April 21. The decision on which Philippine network will air the contest is up to Donaire’s promoter Ringstar Sports headed by CEO Richard Shaefer.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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