BEAU Belga, James Yap, and Rey Guevarra will be back to defend their respective Skills Challenge title in this year’s PBA All-Star week in Calasiao, Pangasinan.
The burly Belga is out to retain his Obstacle Challenge crown featuring some of the league’s top big men, Yap will be gunning for a back-to-back Three-Point shootout championship, while Guevarra aims for a record-tying five Slam Dunk title during the annual festivities set March 29 to 31.
A ‘heavy’ 11-man roster is out to deny Belga of the honor, including last year’s runner-up John Paul Erram of NLEX.
Five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel will also join the fray along with Yousef Taha (TNT Katropa), Noy Baclao (Alaska), Justine Chua (Phoenix), Moala Tautuaa (NorthPort), Raymar Jose (Blackwater), Prince Caperal (Barangay Ginebra), Brian Faundo (Meralco), Russel Escoto (Columbian Dyip), and Rafi Reavis (Magnolia).
Not to be outdone is Belga’s Rain or Shine teammate in the 37-year-old Yap, who is gunning for a third Three-Point shootout crown overall.
Yap, who first won the event in 2009, will be facing an almost brand-new list of competitors this time.
Gone from last year are finalists Stanley Pringle (NorthPort) and two-time champion Terrence Romeo (San Miguel), although out to challenge ‘Big Game’ James from long distance are rookie Robert Bolick (NorthPort), Simon Enciso (Alaska), Philip Paniamogan (NLEX), Michael Digregorio (Blackwater), Reden Celda (Columbian Dyip), Baser Amer (Meralco), Roger Pogoy (TNT Katropa), and Peter June Simon (Magnolia).
Only LA Tenorio (Barangay Ginebra), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel), and Matthew Wright (Phoenix) competed with Yap in last year’s shootout contest.
For his part Guevarra guns for a piece of history as he tries to win a fifth Slam Dunk crown and tie the current record own by KG Canaleta.
Four other players stand in the path of the high-flying Phoenix forward including Renz Palma of Blackwater, who gave Guevarra a run for his money during last year’s finals.
Completing the slam dunk cast are former title holders Chris Newsome (Meralco) and former NCAA champion Lervin Flores (NorthPort), and top rookie pick CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip).