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Ellis banners South, Wade topbills North

FORMER Best Import awardee Rossel Ellis of Alaska and prolific scorer Tiras Wade of Talk `N Text were the top choices to reinforce the North and South teams in its three-game series against Powerade Team Pilipinas in the coming Motolite PBA All-Star extravaganza.

Ellis, who steered the Aces to the 2007 Fiesta Conference title, will power the South selection of coach Tim Cone, while the North quintet of coach Chot Reyes gets the benefit of playing together with Wade, the high-scoring Tropang Texters import who’s currently among the leading contenders for the Best Import plum.

The two were handpicked by league commissioner Sonny Barrios primarily to add depth to the two All-Star squads that will engage Asi Taulava and the rest of the national team in three successive games beginning April 22 in Victorias City Negros, Occidental, as a special edition of the league’s mid-season classic for the year 2009.

The PBA decided to deviate from its traditional North vs. South All-Star Game this season to help the RP squad of coach Yeng Guiao get warmed up for two major international events, including the FIBA-Asia men’s basketball championship in China four months from now.

Teaming up with Ellis in the South team are fellow imports Jeff Varem of Barako Bull and Coca-Cola’s James Penny.

In the North squad with Wade are Burger King’s Shawn Daniels and Jahmar Thorpe of Purefoods.

Incidentally, both Wade and Daniels also reinforced the recent Australian selection that was swept by the Nationals in their recent two-game exhibition series at the Araneta Coliseum.

The North squad plunges into action first against Powerade Team Pilipinas as the two clashed in Victorias City. Comprising the team’s local roster are starters Marc Pingris, Enrico Villanueva, Mac Mac Cardona, Paul Artadi and Danny Ildefonso, together with reserves Jay-R Reyes, Gary David, L.A. Tenorio, Joseph Yeo and Gabby Espinas.

Two days later, the Nationals travel to Panabo City in Davao del Norte where the South selection awaits them. Leading the squad are starters Jay Washington, Eric Menk, Dondon Hontiveros, Jimmy Alapag and Dorian Pena, while coming off the bench are Peter June Simon Reynel Hugnatan, John Ferriols, JR Quinahan and Ronald Tubid.

Finally on April 26, the starting units of North and South – to be handled by Reyes - join forces and take on the Nationals at the Araneta Coliseum.

Imports not previously tapped by the Commissioner’s Office will reinforce the team. They are Anthony Johnson of Sta. Lucia, Jai Lewis of Rain or Shine and San Miguel Beer’s Gabe Freeman.

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