CALASIAO – The Philippine Basketball Association’s best and finest once again fight for regional pride, prestige and bragging rights as the league brings back the North-versus-South match to mark the celebration of the third decade of the league’s annual midseason spectacle.
Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Gabe Norwood and Troy Rosario are All-Star MVP winners leading the North All-Star cast while James Yap, Terrence Romeo, Baser Amer and Asi Taulava are MVPs bannering the South roster in the 2019 All-Star Game set at the Calasiao Sports Center here Sunday.
Phoenix Pulse’s Louie Alas and Rain or Shine’s Caloy Garcia will be debuting as All-Star coaches, with the former calling the shots for the North team that eyes a fifth straight win under the North-versus-South format.
Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera, participants in the event when it was institutionalized in 1989, will be making special appearance in the Calasiao match that could evoke memories of the inaugural All Stars at the Ultra (now PhilSports Arena) in Pasig.
Paras and Magsanoc join Alas’s team that also includes Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, Jason Perkins, Stanley Pringle, Jayson Castro, Chris Banchero and Mark Caguioa.
Patrimonio and Codinera will be with the South team that includes June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, Mark Barroca, RR Pogoy, Chris Ross, PJ Simon, Jio Jalalon, JP Erram and Mac Belo.
Paras and Patrimonio were both All-Star MVP winners during their time.
It’s quickness and athleticism versus height and heft at the start as Tenorio, Lee, Abueva, Aguilar and Lassiter form North’s starting unit versus South’s Fajardo, Slaughter, Yap, Barroca and Thompson.
The South team beat the North, 108-105, in the initial staging of the regional format in 1992 at the Ultra with Alvin Teng winning the MVP honors.
But the North has since won eight of the next 11 North-versus-South games.
Ushering in the All-Star Game is the Shooting Stars event.
At the half, a 10-minute 3×3 contest is an added attraction with Patrimonio and Codinera playing on opposite sides. Former Lyceum stars CJ Perez of Columbian and Jesper Ayaay of Alaska will join Patrimonio in one team while former Red Lions Robert Bolick of NorthPort and Javee Mocon of Rain Or Shine will combine with Codinera in the other.