Marcial, players pleased with intensity in All-Star Game

At a glance

  • The Passi City crowd was treated to a high quality ball game by the PBA All-Star

PASSI CITY – Commissioner Willie Marcial was very much pleased with how the 2023 PBA All-Stars here turned out, from the warm reception of the Ilonggo fans and the competitive and thrilling All-Star and RSJ games.

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The PBA All-Stars treated the fans with intense, physical and competitive game (PBA Images)

Coming back from a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the All-Star weekend returned with a bang in Iloilo as this year’s edition was widely praised by fans, players and enthusiasts alike for the competitiveness, entertainment and thrill of the games.

Marcial gave his stamp of approval to the rest of the players and coaches after Team Japeth and Team Scottie treated the good-sized crowd in the City of Passi Arena to an all-star thriller that saw the former coming out on top with a 140-136 victory.

“Kinausap ko sila bago mag simula pumunta ako sa dugout nila sinabi ko na maganda yung game nung Friday ng RSJ so (sabi ko) maglaro rin tayo. Ayos naman maganda yung resulta itong all-star na ito pati sa skills. Hindi basta bastang nilaro na lang nila,” said Marcial.

Unlike the usual offensive-minded and highlight spectacle All-Star games in the past, the tenacity and grit of players, diving for the loose balls and putting up tough defensive stands along with a couple shooting displays from the league’s best scorers and gunners proved to be more than enough to have the fans up on their feet, wildly cheering for almost the entirety of the game.

And it’s not only the fans who enjoyed the game but also the players who savored the tough competition between the league’s best of the best.

“Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi nabigyan natin ng magandang game ‘yung fans dito sa Passi,” said All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Paul Lee who also compared the difference of the PBA All-Star of that in the NBA – a showcase widely criticized to boring and uncharming to fans.

“Nakita naman natin ‘yung nakaraang All-Star sa NBA, hindi rin magandang tignan. Maraming hindi magandang comment sa nangyari doon. Ni-remind kami ni coach Tim doon about sa nangyari sa NBA. Nag-respond naman ‘yung team. Nag-decide ‘yung team na mago-all-out kami. We treat it as a real game,” said Lee.

As if it was a real playoff game, the antics and the competitive nature of players also came out and added heat and flavor to the already intense game with guys like Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan having some skirmishes and Ginebra teammates Jamie Malonzo and Christian Standhardinger engaging to some psy war.

“Nakakatuwa kasi both sides, makikita mo, may duma-dive sa floor, ayaw nila bigyan ng easy dunk si Jamie. ‘Yung mga ganung bagay, maganda ‘yun para sa fans natin and of course, sa PBA, at sa mga susunod na All-Star [Game],” added Lee.