Christian Standhardinger was picked first overall in the 2023 PBA All-Star Game Draft, Monday evening at the TV5 Media Center in Pasig.
The reigning league MVP took the chance to select his Ginebra teammate when he earned the right to pick first following a coin toss in the proceedings led by Commissioner Willie Marcial and coaches Tim Cone and Yeng Guiao.
Opposing captain Japeth Aguilar, meanwhile, went with six-time MVP and long-time pal June Mar Fajardo with the second overall pick.
To be mentored by Guiao, Team Scottie also has two-time BPC Calvin Abueva of Magnolia, NorthPort stars Robert Bolick and Arvin Tolentino, NLEX main man Kevin Alas, Jayson Castro of TNT, and Gin King Stanley Pringle.
Completing Thompson’s side are San Miguel’s resident sniper Marcio Lassiter, Hotshots guard Mark Barroca, and two-time MVP James Yap of Rain or Shine, who’s set to participate in his 17th All-Star Game.
Team Japeth, on the other hand, will have Ginebra winger Jamie Malonzo, Meralco leader Chris Newsome, Tropang Giga guards Roger Pogoy and Mikey Williams, league Ironman LA Tenorio, and Magnolia gunner Paul Lee.
Rookies Jeremiah Gray and Gian Mamuyac, Nards Pinto, and the Beermen’s Terrence Romeo make up Aguilar’s crew to be mentored by Cone.
Standhardinger and Fajardo will also be bannering the Obstacle Challenge as the PBA will once again fill the event with big men.
Also part of the said event are James Laput, JM Calma, Raymond Almazan, Dave Marcelo, Brandon Rosser, Joseph Gabayni, Ato Ular, Larry Muyang, and Justin Arana, who will all try to beat reigning champion Beau Belga,
Lassiter, Tenorio, Pogoy, Lee, Tolentino, Mamuyac, and Alas, meanwhile, are taking part in the 3-Point Shootout, which will also feature Aaron Black, Juami Tiongson, Baser Amer, and young winger Jerrick Balanza.
Malonzo and Rosser, ultimately, are headlining the Slam Dunk Competition, where they are up against Tyrus Hill, Chris Lalata, and David Murrell.
2022 top overall pick Rosser will be among those set to have a busy ASW as he is also starring in the Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors game.
He was chosen first by the Team Stalwarts of coach Caloy Garcia, where he will be playing alongside Calvin Oftana, Joshua Munzon, Encho Serrano, Anton Asistio, Tio, Shaun Ildefonso, the Nieto Twins, and Aris Dionisio.
They will be taking on coach Richard Del Rosario’s Team Greats, which consists of Arana, Ular, Black, Balanza, Allyn Bulanadi, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Adrian Wong, RK ilagan, Javi Gomez de Liano, and Isaac Go.
The 2023 PBA All-Star Weekend, the league’s first midseason festivities in about four years, is set on March 9-12 in Passi City, Iloilo.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.