PLAYERS who will start for the North and South teams tonight are eagerly looking to excite the fans by showing their wares in a game serving as centerpiece event of the PBA All-Star Week which comes to a close today.
The players who were chosen through online voting ought to give their best, but not at the extent of making hard and unnecessary fouls.
For the All-Star game is not about winning. It is all about dishing out highlight plays, fancy moves and passes, and yes, dunks.
The more of these highlights, the better.
That’s probably the reason why coaches of the two teams – Phoenix coach Louie Alas who will handle the North All-Star and Rain or Shine’s Caloy Garcia who will call the shots for South – seem unperturbed at all despite lack of time to practice the teams.
For Alas and Garcia, they would rather let their players just do their tricks, whatever they are, in the game which will happen at the Calasiao Sports Center in Calasiao, a first-class municipality in Pangasinan known for its rice cake.
“We just have to see how the game progresses kasi wala ka namang magagawa kundi iyon dahil kulang sa practice,” said Alas, citing that the players ought to know what makes the fans enjoy the game.
“Kasi kapag enjoy mga players, kita ng mga fans,” explained Alas. “So mostly we would just let them play their game.” Garcia agreed, adding that he would just give few instructions on the players before and during game time.
The game will be preceded by an event called “Shooting Stars” set 6 p.m. During halftime of the All-Star game, there will be 3-on-3 game too to spice up the game. It will feature Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera playing on opposite sides.
Former Lyceum stars CJ Perez of Columbian and Jesper Ayaay of Alaska will join Patrimonio in one team while former Red Lions Robert Bolick of NorthPort and Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine will combine with Codiñera in the other.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial swore the PBA entourage got a warm welcome in Calasiao for its annual All-Star Week which began last Friday.
“Alam mo naman sa All-Star, mainit ang pagtanggap sa atin ng mga fans. Dito sa Pangasinan, mainit ang pagtanggap nila sa PBA,” said Marcial in a phone conversation with People’s Journal yesterday.
As an added attraction, the fans will also see four retired players who played in a side event when the All-Star Week was institutionalized in 1989. They are Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera.
Paras and Magsanoc will play for North All Star that also includes Stanley Pringle, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, Jason Perkins, Jayson Castro, Chris Banchero and Mark Caguioa.
Patrimonio and Codiñera will play for South All Star along with James Yap, June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy, Baser Amer, Peter June Simon, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, Mark Barroca, Chris Ross, and JP Erram.
The PBA started the All-Star Week in 1989, but the North vs South format started in 1992, with the South beating the North, 108-105.
However, the North had won eight of the last 11 editions, including four straight in 2010 (Puerto Princesa City), 2011 (Boracay, Aklan), 2015 (Puerto Princesa City) and 2016 (Smart Araneta Coliseum).
Paras and Patrimonio were both All-Star MVP winners during their time.