GIVE AND GOThe National Basketball Association legends who participated in last week's NBA Asia Challenge certainly created a buzz among local hoops aficionados during their week-long stay here in the country. Everywhere they went, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dominique Wilkins, Tim Hardaway, Robert Horry and Vlade Divac were warmly received by fans.

From their arrival Monday last week to the subsequent mall tours and events to promote the Challenge to the one-night-only exhibition game last Friday, the NBA legends got the attention and interest of the Filipino Basketball crowd in more ways than one.

Interestingly enough, it was not only the fans who turned out to be a captured lot as even the Philippine Basketball Association All-Stars who the NBA group competed against at the Challenge did not hide their fancy and excitement over the presence of the "legendary" visitors.

Almost everyone in the PBA team who Give and Go asked on how they felt about playing in the event said they were very honored and excited. In fact, just as the bus of the NBA Generations arrived at the Araneta Coliseum last Friday some of the PBA players could not help but ogle like any ordinary fan at the sight of the former NBA stars. These same PBA stalwarts also said that if they were once again invited to play in another Challenge they would not hesitate to join.

In connection with the possibility of another NBA Challenge being staged here, this space conducted a mini survey among some of the PBA All- Star members on which NBA legends they would like to go up against in such a setup in the future. Below is their answers:

Enrico Villanueva (Barangay Ginebra Kings forward): San Antonio Spurs' David Robinson; Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen; Houston Rockets' Hakeem Olajuwon; and Utah Jazz's John Stockton.

Benjie Paras (only PBA rookie-MVP in history): Jordan; LA Lakers' Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; and Philadelphia 76ers' Julius Irving and Charles Barkley.

Ronnie Magsanoc (the "Point Laureate"): Abdul-Jabbar; Detroit Pistons' Isiah Thomas; Jordan, Barkley and Stockton.

Dondon Hontiveros (San Miguel Beermen hotshot guard): Jordan, Johnson, Pippen, Abdul-Jabbar and Barkley.

Willie Miller (two-time league MVP): Jordan, Pippen; Orlando Magic's Penny Hardaway; and Seattle Supersonics' Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton.

Sonny Thoss (Team Pilipinas player; Alaska Aces center): Jordan, Pippen, Kemp; Utah Jazz's Karl Malone; and Olajuwon.

Alvin Patrimonio ("The Captain"; four-time league MVP): Houston Rockets' Robert Horry; Abdul-Jabbar, Jordan, Barkley, Malone and Olajuwon.

Jay-R Reyes (Rain or Shine Elastopainters center): Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins; Abdul-Jabbar, Jordan, Barkley and Olajuwon.

Two other players Allan Caidic ("The Triggerman"; one-time PBA MVP) and Asi Taulava (Coca-Cola Tigers center and former league MVP) said they had nobody in particular in mind, but would welcome any of the NBA greats.

As for the space, being a longtime fan of the NBA , I would love to see on local soil Johnson, Boston Celtics' Larry Bird, New York Knicks' Bernard King, Barkley, and Philadelphia 76ers' Bobby Jones.

Here is hoping that more NBA Challenges will be staged on this part of the globe.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 15, 2009


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