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Stars galore in Bacolod

BACOLOD, Philippines — Like their kuyas in the PBA All-Star Game, the league’s young guns have no intention of wearing kid gloves when they duke it out in the Team Greats versus Team Stalwarts match today at the University of St. La Salle.

The pro league’s premier rookies, sophomores and juniors hit the court at 6:15 p.m. with Team Greats, led by TNT’s Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Terrafirma’s Javi Gomez de Liaño, out for a repeat against the Stephen Holt-bannered Team Stalwarts.

“After last year, the goal here is to raise the standard even higher. We’ll try to make it as competitive as possible,” said second-year Gomez de Liaño of the game that serves as an appetizer to tomorrow’s centerpiece Team Japeth versus Team Mark All Star faceoff.

“For me there’s got to be a balance of having fun and also being competitive. Obviously, it’s not an actual counted na game but at the same time it’s also an opportunity to play with the best of the best sa court and people want to see talaga the competitiveness and how you jell with other teammates na hindi mo naman kakampi sa actual games.”

His Terrafirma teammate, Holt, concurred.

“It’s all about finding the balance of playing the right way and then also being entertaining. Fans probably want to see crazy shots, crazy three-pointers, crazy stuff. But at the end of the day, you just got to play the right way and ensure you take the right shots,” the Season 48 No. 1 rookie pick said.

“There’s always going to be a moment in the game where teams (really) tighten up a bit, raise the bar and I’m sure both teams will find that moment and give a good product for the fans and for the league.”

Before the RSJ showdown, the PBA All Stars showcase their skills via the Obstacle Challenge, Three-Point Shootout Guard edition and Three-Point Shootout Big Men edition beginning at 3 p.m.

Magnolia’s Paul Lee is out for back-to-back Three-Point King title against a loaded field of sweet-shooting guards led by last year’s runner-up Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel and two-time winner and Negros Occidental’s very own James Yap of Blackwater.

Seven-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of SMB, meanwhile, headlines frontliners seeking to prove their worth as