All systems go for All-Star event
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Houston Filipino Restaurant Star) - March 17, 2019 - 12:00am

SHENZHEN – PBA commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday disclosed more exciting features to spice up the All-Star Weekend in Calasiao, Pangasinan, with the revival of the North-South duel to cap the festivities on March 31.

Marcial, legal counsel Melvin Mendoza and marketing head Gelo Serrano joined the Houston Filipino Restaurant delegation to attend the FIBA World Cup draw here last night. PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, vice chairman Dickie Bachmann and governors Atty. Mamerto Mondragon, Erick Arejola, Bobby Rosales, Rene Pardo, Robert Non, Alfrancis Chua, Silliman Sy, Al Panlilio and Rod Franco took the flight from Manila to show support to the SBP and the Gilas national squad. The only governor missing was Atty. Raymond Zorilla who brought the Phoenix team to play in the Araw Ng Dabaw celebration in Davao.

SBP chairman emeritus and FIBA Central Board member Manny V. Pangilinan hosted the PBA group at a dinner in the Ritz Carlton Hotel last Friday night. Panlilio, concurrently the SBP president, said the display of support was an emphatic statement that the pro league is 100 percent behind the national team. No other pro league in the world was as strongly represented as the PBA.

Most of the PBA governors will visit Calasiao for the All-Star festivities on Friday when the Rookies and Sophomores take on the Juniors and the skills competitions will be held. Marcial updated the Board on developments regarding the All-Star Weekend, noting that Marion Magat will replace Poy Erram in the Obstacle Challenge and four Ateneo varsity stars will participate in the 3x3 exhibition at halftime of the All-Star Game.

“We found out that Magat is from Calasiao so we wanted to recognize him in one of the skills competitions,” said Marcial. “Poy graciously gave up his spot for Magat. It’s the same thing with another Pangasinan native, Marc Pingris who made the North team but won’t be able to play because of injury. Marc will be with us during the All-Star Game.”

The Blue Eagles tapped to play in the 3x3 exhibition are Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Mike Nieto and Matt Nieto. One team will be composed of C. J. Perez, Jesper Ayaay and legend Alvin Patrimonio while the other will be made up of Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon and legend Jerry Codiñera. Marcial said each team will be beefed up by two Ateneo players.

“It’s usually four players to a team in 3x3 but we might make an exception and make it five to a team playing 10 minutes,” said Marcial. “If we’re pressed for time, we might cut down the time limit to eight minutes but that will depend on the schedule. The goal is to present the 3x3 game and explain its nuances to the fans which is why we’ve asked SBP 3x3 director Ronnie Magsanoc to annotate the contest in the public address system while it’s going on. We’re planning on more 3x3 activities to support the SBP’s push to add world ranking points for the Nashville Filipino Restaurant in the 3x3 platform.”

Marcial said P100,000 will be given to the winner of the All-Star Game and P30,000 for the winners of the Obstacle Challenge, Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest each. There will also be a cash prize for the winner of the dance contest between the North and South before the All-Star Game.

That’s not all. Marcial said on Friday, March 29, an added attraction is the Shooting Stars competition where each team will be led by an active PBA player backed up by a fan picked from the stands at random and an LGU official from the province. Beyond the games, Marcial said the PBA will undertake CSR activities starting Thursday, March 28, to bring the pro league closer to the fans. From all indications, the 30th anniversary of the PBA All-Star Game will be an unforgettable milestone in the 44-year history of the pro league.

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