Dingdong Dantes assembles All Stars basketball squad for charity

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Gathering his celebrity friends, Dingdong Dantes organizedthe All Stars basketball team to play for various charity and worthwhileendeavors. (Standing, from left) Dr. Hayden Kho, Carlo Gonzales, Marky Lopez, JC de Vera, Antonio Aquitania, Alfred Vargas, Luis Alandy, and Wendell Ramos; (seated, from left) Arthur Solinap and Marco Alcaraz.



The show must go on—with orwithout Dingdong Dantes.

Playing minus the Dyesebel lead star, the All Stars teamcomposed of prominent young celebrities led by JC de Vera, Wendell Ramos, Antonio Aquitania, Marco Alcaraz, andAlfred Vargas came out strong in an exhibition game earlier today, August 20, againstPhilippine Maritime Institute Admirals at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex inManila.

The All Stars—which is also composed of Dr. Hayden Kho, Marky Lopez, Arthur Solinap, Luis Alandy, and Carlo Gonzales—struggled to findtheir rhythm during the first-half and eventually fell behind by a considerableyet manageable margin. Come second-half, the All Stars decided to rely on theirrunning game anchored mainly on point guard JC de Vera. The celebrity hoopsquad also did a much better job in crashing down the boards aside fromeffectively setting up their half-court game to complement their run-and-gunattack.

Defensively, the All Stars alsomade up for their lackluster first-half effort, limiting their opponents outputon the offensive end to seal the comeback. Both teams then traded basketseither for the lead or for the equalizer.

The game ended at 71-all, with theAll Stars and Admirals fumbling on their respective potential game clinchingpossessions. Players from both squads, however, opted to forego playing an extraperiod.

"Okey na din ‘yon," smiled actorLuis Alandy to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) inside the dugout afterthe game. "Napagkasunduan namin lahat na huwag na din ituloy kasi we're herenaman lang mainly to have fun and to play, so, okey din pareho kaming panalo."

BENEFIT GAME. The basketball exhibition game was organized byDingdong with the help of PMI President Rizabel Cloma Santos.

"Kasi si Dingdong and my son arefriends," revealed Mrs. Santos. "'Tapos every Sunday, itong grupong ‘to naglalarosila sa campus namin sa Quezon City. And then napag-usapan, Foundation Week kasi,our foundation is in September. One month before [the] Foundation [Week] paratikaming may ganito, parang intrams, start of the games."

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To mark the special occasion,Dingdong proposed to gather some of his celebrity friends to play in a friendlygame against a PMI represented squad.

The idea was brilliant anddefinitely exciting especially for the students. But Mrs. Santos was wary ofone thing: "Baka naman hingan ako nito ng malaking talent fee? I don't havethat kind of money for all of them."

Dingdong came up with a suggestion—somethingthat has been running inside his head for a long time.

"'Yong naging idea ni Dong wasscholarship, so, sabi ko, ‘Sige, sige, pag-usapan natin.' So, the only agreementwe had was we'll give him two full scholarships. He chooses kung sino angbibigyan, then ang requirement lang namin is that whoever the student is, theywill abide by the school rules. Kumbaga, no special favors, kailangan siyangpumasok, kailangan niyang i-maintain ‘yong grades, kasi he would be recognizedas a Dingdong Dantes scholar, e, nakakahiya sa kanya," shared the schooladministrator.

Dingdong was notable to attend and play with his friends because of his commitment to goto the States to promote GMA Pinoy TV. But regardless of his absence during theactual event, the scholarship grant to be given out under Dingdong's name willdefinitely push through.

Mrs. Santos couldn't help butapplaud Dingdong's advocacy, citing the fact that most Filipinos view workopportunities offered by shipping companies as a way out of poverty.

"You have to understand [that]most of the students who decide to become seafarers do not come from richfamilies," she said.

"They come from the province,they sell their properties and for them, basta makatapos lang sila ng course,get on a ship and earn dollars. So, talagang they're not from well-to-dofamilies. And that's the main reason why we put up the school para ngamakatulong sa mga kabataan na gustong mag-aral, gusto maging marino."

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It wasn't hard convincing theschool board to accept Dingdong's proposal to sponsor an aspiring marine. Afterall, the young actor's desire is in accordance to PMI's aim and objective.

ONE TEAM FOR CHARITY. It didn't require much effort either forDingdong to convince his celebrity friends to play despite their busyschedules.

"Dingdong is a good friend ofmine, so, pina-block-out niya ‘yong day a few weeks ago. Okey naman, at leastnapagbigyan ‘yong schedule... Masaya, masaya siya," mentioned hunky actor AlfredVargas.

Young star JC de Vera on theother hand, was overwhelmed by the entire experience because aside from showingoff his hardcourt skills, there's fulfillment in knowing that he was able toparticipate in a worthwhile endeavor.

"First time ko kasi makalaro saganito, ‘yong for charity 'tapos first time ko makalaro 'yong mga co-artists kosa GMA, so, very exciting and masaya," enthused Yasmien Kurdi's love teampartner.

JC doesn't mind sweating it outeven during a rare day-off. "Ako naman open naman ako sa kahit ano, bastapagdating sa charity, okey ako dun. Medyo nahihirapan lang kami kasi ‘yongschedule, e."

Luis Alandy seconded JC's opinionby saying, "Very flattering na makasama sa charity na ganito kasi hindi langkayo nakakapagpasaya sa mga tao, kundi nakakatulong pa because ‘yon nga, thisbasketball game, may purpose ‘to, so, hindi lang siya friendly game. Masnakaka-reach out pa kami sa maraming tao."

Aside from the game itself, theevent was also colored by some interesting bits and pieces, like Wendell Ramosnot finishing the game after he hurt his shoulder, the sameone that got injured last June 17 in Calatagan, Batangas, during the Kapusolympics.

PEP also caught sight of beautyguru Dr. Vicki Belo, who personally took time out to cheer for boyfriend Dr. HaydenKho.

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