SLAM Rising Stars ClassicABS-CBN Sports via ABS-CBN Sports + Action, in partnership with SLAM Philippines brings an action-packed All Star Game featuring 24 of the top high school basketball players in the country this Sunday (March 20) in the SLAM Rising Stars Classic, which will be aired LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports and Action, and Sports and Action HD at 6:30PM.
SLAM Philippines, the local offshoot of SLAM Magazine, the ‘In Your Face’ basketball bible in the United States of America, has really been hard at work in their dream of giving the future of Philippine basketball, the high school stars, their moment.
This year's All Star Game will feature high school standouts such as De La Salle Zobel star and DLSU commit Aljun Melecio (UAAP Jrs S78 MVP), Evan Nelle of San Beda College’s Evan Nelle (NCAA Jrs S91 Finals MVP), fresh Ateneo recruits Jolo Mendoza, a former Batang Gilas stalwart, and Shaun Ildefonso from Ateneo High School and Tyler Tio of Xavier School headline this year’s showcase, which also includes blue chip players Justine Baltazar and John Lloyd Clemente of the NU Bullpups. In addition, also returning to this year’s SLAM Rising Stars Classic is highly-touted wingman Ricci Rivero of LSGH, and Carlo Abadeza of Arellano University.
ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena believes that the SLAM Rising Stars Classic is a great opportunity for Filipino basketball-loving fans to watch and see the next generation stars of the hard court.
"As much as the search for the next Kiefer Ravena, or Jeron Teng is concerned, we are just happy to showcase the future of Philippine basketball like Jolo Mendoza, Aljun Melecio, Ricci Rivero, and more. These young stars will be the ones we will soon cheer on. At ABS-CBN Sports, we want to share and champion the stories of our athletes regardless of their age or status---high school, college or professionals, so that these may serve as inspiration to all our Kapamilyas watching our sports coverages," he explained.
Nikko Ramos, SLAM Philippines’ executive editor, said that the SLAM Rising Stars Classic likely serves as the graduation ceremony of the country’s finest basketball stars in the high school level before making a huge splash in the collegiate level. He believes that these young guns’ should let their stars shine instead of deferring to their kuyas saying, “in the past, these athletes would have been told to "wait their turn." We refuse to make them wait, or wait ourselves. It is a platform that not only propels young talent, but also grabs hold of the narrative as if to say "Get on the bandwagon now. You'll run out of seats if you wait."
The 24 high schoolers will be split into two teams for the All Star bonanza with Team PUNKS, bannered by Melecio, being coached by DLSZ coach Gian Navarro while Ateneo Blue Eaglets coach Joe Silva mans the sidelines for Team HYPE, which is led by Mendoza. Professional cagers Marc Pingris, Tony Dela Cruz, Chris Banchero, and former NU stalwart Troy Rosario will serve as special assistant coaches to the two squads.
Numerous collegiate stars have played in the previous two editions of the SLAM Rising Stars Classic, and continue to make a name for themselves in the college circuit. Prominent alumni include De La Salle University’s Prince Rivero and Andrei Caracut (UAAP Srs. Season 77 Rookie of the Year), National University’s Rev Diputado, Ateneo De Manila University’s Arvin Tolentino (UAAP Srs. Season 76 Rookie of the Year) and Matt Nieto, San Beda College’s Javee Mocon, Adamson University’s JD Tungcab, and University of the Philippines’ Diego Dario. The annual event is fueled by Gatorade, and supported by adidas – the official outfitter of the third annual Slam Rising Stars Classic, Smart Sports, Resorts World Manila, and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Catch the third SLAM Rising Stars Classic on ABS-CBN Sports + Action and Sports + Action HD live on Sunday (March 20) starting at 6:30 PM. There will also be a replay during the Holy Week on Good Friday (March 26). For more info and updates, visit sports.abs-cbn.com. (Story/Photos by: Kane Errol Choa)