Though the All-Star festivities remain far down the list of its priorities, the Philippine Basketball Association nonetheless hopes to stage such again soon.
“Malaking bagay ang All-Star,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told the PSA Forum webcast, Tuesday.
“Sana this year, [maibalik] natin ang All-Star.”
There hasn’t been any midseason spectacle for the PBA since the onset of the pandemic back in March 2020, which forced pro leagues, in general, to continue their competitions in a bubble set-up — with no fans in attendance.
The league last held an All-Star Weekend back in 2019. The 30th edition of the annual event was played at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.
There, North kept its mastery of South, 185-170, in the highest-scoring All-Star Game in league history. Arwind Santos and Japeth Aguilar went on to share ASG MVP honors in a show greatly enjoyed by the fans.
The Calasiao All-Star matches were for a cause as well. Double V Productions, the league’s promotional partner in that ASW, donated a wheelchair to Alagang PBA Foundation in every dunk and three-pointer made.
According to Marcial, the All-Star festivities have always been that important to the league, most especially for its trust fund.
“Kailangan natin ang All-Star. Diyan tayo kumukuha ng pondo para sa trust fund,” he told the session presented by San Miguel Corp., MILO, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant, and PAGCOR, with Prime Edge as its webcast partner.
But before thinking all about the All-Star, Marcial and Co. are hoping to go on tour again and play in provinces like what they’ve done pre-pandemic.
The fifth-year league chieftain said that about three provinces have already reached out to his office and expressed interest in hosting PBA games again. although there remain lots to consider since the pandemic is still going on.
“Siguro tatlong probinsiya na ang tinatanong tayo kung pwede mag-out of town,” he said without going into detail. “Sabi ko, sandali. Tingnan niyo muna.
“One, magpapaalam sa LGUs. Pangalawa, hindi ba kayo malulugi? Kasi baka mahirapan kayo. Sabi nila hindi, sabik na sabik daw ‘yung mga fans. Katulad nung fans natin sa Araneta na hindi ko akalain na ganung kadami,” he continued.
“Yun ang tinitingnan natin. Probinsiya muna, tapos All-Star.”