MAGNOLIA forward Aris Dionisio is set for his maiden appearance in the PBA All Star Game this weekend in Bacolod City.

Mr. Dionisio, one of the most reliable backups for the Hotshots, has been tapped to replace Ginebra star Scottie Thompson, who is sidelined by a back injury, in the Team Japeth selection battling Team Mark in the showcase match on Sunday.

The 6-foot-4 Mr. Dionisio is the only Magnolia player other than veteran Paul Lee in the squad captained by Japeth Aguilar and coached by Tim Cone.

With Mr. Dionisio seeing action in the All Star Game, he turned over his spot in the Three-Point Contest for Big Men to fellow Magnolia frontliner James Laput. The PBA delegation, meanwhile, leaves for the City of Smiles Wednesday and launches the event in a courtesy call and press conference kickstarting a series of activities lasting through Sunday.

Friday’s itinerary includes a basketball and referees’ clinic, school visit and meet and greet with fans while the Skills Events (Obstacle Challenge, Three-Point Shootout Big Men version and Three-Point Shootout Guards edition) and the Team Greats versus Team Stalwarts game featuring the top rookies, sophomores and juniors highlight Saturday’s schedule. — Olmin Leyba