Mark Barroca, Japeth Aguilar promise competitive All-Star Game

Team captains Japeth Aguilar and Mark Barroca are determined to give fans an unforgettable show at Sunday’s PBA All-Star Game, promising a highly competitive match at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum.

Last year’s champions, Team Japeth, led by Aguilar himself, will be aiming for another victory after their triumph in Passi City, Iloilo. Despite not playing in the last game, Aguilar witnessed his team’s 140-136 victory over Team Scottie, with Paul Lee of Magnolia deservedly earning the title of Most Valuable Player.

“Kailangan naming i-defend ‘yung pagkapanalo namin last year. Ita-try namin ‘yung best namin na mag-back-to-back,” said Aguilar.

This year, Lee is back to showcase his skills alongside Aguilar, although Team Japeth will be missing key players Thompson and Standhardinger due to injury and illness, respectively.

On the other side, Team Mark, under the leadership of Barroca, is eager to take advantage of Team Japeth’s roster challenges and secure a win in Bacolod, the first All-Star Game held in The City of Smiles since 2008.

“Sa amin, siyempre may extra motivation kami kasi kinausap kami ni Mayor,” said Barroca.

“Siyempre, gusto rin naming manalo at ibigay ang best namin. Gusto naming mag-compete talaga ng high-level basketball dahil gusto naming maging special ‘yung All-Star sa Bacolod. Ita-try namin ang best namin na manalo sa game,” added this year’s top vote-getter.

Barroca will have the expertise of San Miguel’s Jorge Gallent as coach, while Tim Cone of Brgy. Ginebra will be guiding Team Japeth.

The rosters are packed with talent, with players like Oftana, Malonzo, Newsome, and Lassiter on Team Japeth, and Fajardo, Perez, Bolick, and Yap on Team Mark. Late replacements Pogoy and Dionisio will also join the action.

The PBA stars arrived in Bacolod on Thursday morning, enjoying a warm welcome from the city government and engaging in meet-and-greet activities to hype up the much-anticipated game.

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