MVP race pacesetter Justine Baltazar will lead the North Division selection against the best of the South, spearheaded by reigning MVP Jaycee Marcelino on Saturday in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season All-Star game at the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga City.
The 6-foot-9 Baltazar, the star of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, will be supported by teammate Encho Serrano, Will McAloney of Nueva Ecija, Rob Celiz (Makati), Orlan Wamar (San Juan), Troy Mallillin (Rizal), Adrian Nocum (San Juan), Yves Sazon (Bataan), Ryan Costelo (Pasig), Felipe Chavez (Marikina), Rence Alcoriza (Bulacan), Jason Ballesteros (Pasig), Roi Sumang (Nueva Ecija), John Winfred Gob (Rizal), and Emmanuel Calo (Makati).
Joining Marcelino, the spearhead of Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, are Kyt Jimenez of GenSan, Jeckster Apinan (Batangas), Jhan Nermal (Bacoor), John Wilson (GenSan), James Kwekuteye (Bacoor), John Amores (Muntinlupa), CJ Catapusan (Iloilo), Jimboy Estrada (Iloilo), Joseph Gabayni (Zamboanga), Mark Cruz (Batangas), Marco Balagtas (Muntinlupa), Lorenzo Navarro (Iloilo), and Alfrancis Tamsi (Quezon).
The North team, to be handled by Pampanga Gov. and Giant Lanterns coach Dennis Pineda, is out for revenge as the South, to be handled by Bacoor coach Alex Angeles, has won the last three stagings of the event held at the Batangas City Coliseum last year.
Also on tap is the Slam Dunk competition, featuring YouTube sensation Poypoy Actub of Imus, Rhinwill Yambing of San Juan, Inand Val Fornilos (Marikina), Ximone Sandagon (Quezon), Justine Guevarra (Bulacan), CJ Gania (Pampanga), Michael Alvarez (GenSan), and Alecsis Ramos (Bataan).
There will also be a 3-Point Shootout to be participated in by Antonio Joseon of GenSan, John Anthony Umali (Paranaque), Dom Matillano (Bacolod), James Castro (Bataan), Jayson Castro Aplonio (Pampanga), Jonathan Uyloan (Nueva Ecija), Robbie Manalang (Pasig), Val Acuna (Muntinlupa), Levi Hernandez (Batangas), Jermer Cabanag (Caloocan), Joshua Santos (Bataan), Wamar, and Tamsi.
An Executives’ game will also be held with MPBL Founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao joining the South squad. Last year, Pacquiao drilled a buzzer-beater triple to tie the game at 107-107.
This year’s All-Stars are being hosted by Bataan Risers team owner Goody Ilagan, an ardent supporter of the MPBL who has opened the doors of the exclusive Camaya Coast for the MPBL staff headed by Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.