The stars of the not too distant past take center stage as UNTV Cup PBA Legends Faceoff opens shop with an exciting pair of matches on Sunday at the Pasig Sports Center.
With Dondon Hontiveros back in its fold, San Miguel Beer looms as the overwhelming favorite to rule the four-team, month-long tournament presented and organized by UNTV through its president and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon in cooperation with Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas Foundation Inc., (formerly PBA Legends Foundation).
Hontiveros and former MVP winners Allan Caidic, Ato Agustin and Danny Ildefonso form a potent first unit along with Olsen Racela.
The Beermen will face the Purefoods Hotdogs at 12 noon before the Jayjay Helterbrand and the Ginebra Kings take on the Johnny Abarrientos-led Alaska Aces at 1:30 p.m. of the event that aims to help former PBA players who are either sick or in need of financial help.
A tax-free P2 million in prizes will go to the Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas Foundation Inc., (formerly PBA Legends Foundation) after the tournament.
“After the tournament, the UNTV Cup will donate P2 million to the foundation, kaya madadagdagan ang pondo namin,” said foundation chairman Atoy Co. “Mas maraming pera, mas marami tayong matutulungan.”
Though both Hontiveros and Helterbrand retired only two years ago, they are qualified to lead their respective teams under the age bracket of 40-year-old and above.
And the two are expected to provide additional firepower and excitement just like the successful staging of the ‘Return of the Rivals’ event last February.
Apart from Helterbrand, also playing for Ginebra are Bal David, Vince Hizon, Rudy Distrito, Edward Joseph Feihl, Marlou Aquino, Bobby Jose, Benny Cheng, Mike Orquillas, Banjo Calpito, and Pido Jarencio.
Joining four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio at Purefoods are long-time frontcourt partner Jerry Codinera, Dindo Pumaren, Glenn Capacio, Bong Ravena, Richard Yee, Joey Santamaria, Bonel Balingit, Tony Boy Espinosa, Dwight Lago, Roger Yap, and Rommel Adducul.
Also playing for the Aces are Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, Jeffrey Cariaso, Edward Juinio, Rodney Santos, Eddie Laure, Willie Miller, John Ferriols, and Kenneth Duremdes.