RETIRED ‘young’ players JayJay Helterbrand and Dondon Hontiveros banner their respective teams in the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Faceoff which kicks off on Sunday at the Pasig Sports Center.
Hontiveros rekindles the past as he dons the San Miguel Beer jersey anew, while Helterbrand, the former PBA MVP, will be at the forefront of Ginebra San Miguel team’s campaign in the month-long meet, four-team meet that also features Purefoods and Alaska.
Both Hontiveros and Helterbrand retired at the same time in Asia’s pioneering pro league in 2017.
But the two earned the right to see action in the tournament that offers a P1 million prize to the champion team as they are well qualified as per the age bracket of 40-year-old and above.
The presence of Helterbrand and Hontiveros are expected to add excitement to the meet that is an offshoot of the highly-successful ‘Return of the Rivals’ event staged last February which also featured the four popular ballclubs.
“Kaya ipinanganak itong PBA Legends Faceoff, nung nakita nila (UNTV) na maganda pa ring panoorin at makikita mo yung reception ng mga fans ay maganda, kaya nangyari itong faceoff na ito,” said tournament commissioner Fortunato ‘Atoy’ Co in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila.
“Sabi nga nila sa alak, mas lumuluma, mas sumasarap.”
With Helterbrand at 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 Hontiveros at San Miguel on the other hand, are Allan Caidic, Nic Belasco, Ato Agustin, Danny Ildefonso, Nelson Asaytono, Olsen Racela, Arnold Gamboa, Bong Alvarez, Francis Adriano, Danny Seigle, and Chris Calaguio.
Four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio will be at the forefront of Purefoods’ campaign along with frontcourt partner Jerry Codiñera, Dindo Pumaren, Glenn Capacio, Bong Ravena, Richard Yee, Joey Santamaria, Bonel Balingit, Tony Boy Espinosa, Dwight Lago, Roger Yap, and Rommel Adducul.
Alaska has the least number of players suiting up with 10 led by Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, Jeffrey Cariaso, Edward Juinio, Rodney Santos, Eddie Laure, Willie Miller, John Ferriols, and Kenneth Duremdes.
“Masaya kapag nagkikita yung mga former teammates, former players. Masayang okasyon ito,” said the 67-year-old Co, a former MVP himself and regarded as one of the deadliest shooters in PBA history, during the forum presented by San Miguel Beer, Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
San Miguel battles Purefoods on opening day (June 2) at 12 noon, followed by the Ginebra-Alaska tussle at 2 p.m.