The hoop festivities in Passi, Ilioilo lived up to the hype.
If we were to nitpick, maybe Jamie Malonzo backing out of the Slam Dunk Contest is the only negative we could point out. And that’s us already splitting hairs. All in all, the 2023 PBA All-Star Weekend did not disappoint.
Coming off a three-year absence due to the pandemic, the star-studded affair returned with a vengeance. And it proved a few important things about the league and its fans. Here are four of them.
More out-of-town PBA events are needed
Back in the 90s, the PBA’s top cagers were treated by fans like movie stars. Today’s All-Stars got a taste of that as the city of Passi welcomed the league with open arms. From the side events all the way to the main attraction, the people’s reception was next level.
It makes perfect sense for Commissioner Willie Marcial and the Board of Governors to harness that undeniable love for the league outside Manila. It’s time to reciprocate that devotion by holding more events out of town.
The PBA All-Star Game is more competitive than the NBA’s
The latest edition of the PBA All-Star Game had a near-perfect mix of pizzaz and pride. As a result, the audience was able to witness a high-quality basketball match. From a competition standpoint, Team Japeth’s 140-136 win over Team Scottie might just be better than its equivalent in the NBA.
We attribute this to the coaches. The competitive fire must’ve come from Tim Cone and Yeng Guiao. Can we have these two fierce tacticians in the All-Stars every year?
The 4-point line is worth exploring
Purists will say no. But hey, the Passi City games showed how exciting the four-point line can be. Its inclusion in the actual PBA season might be worth exploring. Down three in a Game 7 with a few seconds left, the possibility of hitting a four-point shot for the win makes the cardiac ball game even more heart-stopping.
Enthusiasm and effort go a long way
From the young guns of the RSJ tiff led by MVP Adrian Wong to the All-Star Game where Paul Lee was named the best player, the PBA’s brightest talents came out to put on a show. Even the participants in the side events appeared eager to perform. It really looked like everyone was grateful to be in Passi City.
With the stars fully engaged just as much as the fans, there was an energy throughout the entire three days that made the 2023 edition of the PBA All-Star Weekend one of the best in recent memory.
It’s not impossible to replicate the same vibe in the regular PBA games. All it takes is the right amount of enthusiasm and effort.