Coming off a successful inaugural season, the tournament founded by Manny Pacquiao has attracted the biggest names among ex pros, undrafted players, and the latest, celebrity ballers. While many actors have suited up in charity exhibition matches, few of them are actually qualified to play competitive ball.
One of them is Xian Lim, who was reportedly spotted trying out for Mandaluyong El Tigre. The almost 6'2" male lead was once part of Team B of the University of the East, where his father was a varsity player decades ago. In 2015, SPIN.ph reported that Lim was interested to join Cloudfone—a brand that he's endorsing—in the PBA D-League.
Despite having enviable features, the 28-year-old isn't afraid to bang bodies and, in Pinoy basketball jargon, "makipagpalitan ng mukha" on the court. Surely any squad could use Lim's height and hustle, not to mention his drawing power.
Unlike Xian, though, Andre Paras has had experience going up against the big boys, when he manned the paint for the AMA Online Education Titans in the D-League last year. He was seen recently in a post-practice photo uploaded by Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment's Facebook page, which sparked rumors of his involvement with the team.
The undersized big man, who also worked out with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, is nowhere near the athlete that his younger brother Kobe is, but has proven to be a "Tower of Power" like dad Benjie. He was a rebounding and blocking machine for the Titans, willing to do the dirty work that was far removed from his more showbiz persona.
Some are already frowning upon the idea of the regional league turning into a farce with all these player-actors, although commissioner Kenneth Duremdes assured the public that this wouldn't be the case. He explained to Fox Sports PH, "Tanggalin mo yung pagka-celebrity nila, tingnan mo yung talents at skills nila. I've played with Gerald (Anderson) before and he can play sa commercial leagues. The same goes for Xian."