IF IT WOULD HAVE its way, the Philippine Basketball Association would like to stage the annual All-Star Game despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic messing up with the league’s season calendar.
Currently at a halt as the country’s battle with COVID-19 rages on, the PBA is bracing for a reconfigured schedule, looking at staging just two conferences, or worse one, instead of the traditional three and doing away with some of its other activities for now.
But the league said conditions permitting it would like to push through with the staging of the midseason classic, seeing it as a huge part in what it is trying to accomplish as an organization every season.
“We just can’t scrap the All-Stars because it’s really for the fans and it generates fund that we turn to the Players Trust Fund,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial was quoted as saying in the league Website.
“So if we won’t do the All-Stars we have to find a replacement event but it will not be that easy,” he added.
This year All-Star festivities were set to happen sometime in July in Passi, Iloilo.
It remains to be seen if it will push through on the scheduled date after the PBA was forced to suspend all of its activities for the season on March 11 as the government declared a state of public health emergency with COVID-19 beginning to take root in the country.
Under a public health emergency all mass gatherings, including sporting events, are prohibited.
The suspension of activities came immediately on the heels of the opening of the PBA Philippine Cup on March 8, which saw the defending champions San Miguel Beermen beat the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 94-78.
The league was angling to resume proceedings this month or in May, hinged on the possibility of some semblance of normalcy after the 30-day Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) lapses today, April 13.
But with the government deciding on April 7 to extend the ECQ for another two weeks, or until April 30, the PBA was forced to reevaluate its schedule.
The league is looking to have a more concrete plan moving forward when the board meets anew on April 30.
In last year’s edition of the PBA All-Star Game in Calasiao, Pangasinan, the North team won, 185-170, with Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra and Arwind Santos of San Miguel sharing the most valuable player award.
Mr. Aguilar finished with 32 points on an efficient 16-of-22 shooting while displaying aerial artistry with creative dunks throughout. Mr. Santos, meanwhile, had 34 points and 17 boards.
Paul Lee also of the North squad had 27 points on a record nine triples.
For the South side it was Magnolia veteran Peter June Simon who led the way with 34 points, followed six-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo with 26 points. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo