The PBA All-Star Draft is done, the All-Star Weekend next month in Passi City, Iloilo is set with the game between Team Japeth Aguilar and Team Scottie Thompson as the centerpiece.
Some fans though raised questions regarding the selection of the top 24 players, which featured eight from crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, three each from the San Miguel Beermen, Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots, and TNT Tropang Giga.
Two players were picked up from each of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the NorthPort Batang Pier, while the Meralco Bolts and NLEX Road Warriors had one each.
Some fans though expressed on social media their discontentment with what they deemed to be a "popularity contest."
"Ganun naman talaga sa All-Stars, kahit sa NBA, talagang fans ang nasusunod," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial told News5's Martie Bautista.
According to the PBA, the players were voted by fans in the venue during games and through the website. Aguilar, the top All-Star with 1.23 million votes, overtook six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo during the second round of returns. Thompson, the reigning MVP, retained his spot at second.
Some players who were considered snubs were Terrafirma Dyip's Juami Tiongson, who is averaging 23.3 points in the Governors' Cup, and Converge FiberXers' Maverick Ahanmisi, who is making an average of 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 13 games. Here's how they responded.
Asked on whether there would be an adjustment in the future regarding the selection of players, Marcial said, "Nanggaling na tayo sa North and South. Nanggaling na tayo sa Gilas vs All-Stars. Botohan din dati."
"Magbabago siguro ang format pero fans pa rin ang masusunod. Ang All-Stars ay para sa fans."
This year, the PBA is taking its cue from the NBA where the top vote-getters would select their players from the fan selection.
But fans are also concerned about whether the PBA All-Star Game would be an exciting one to watch, following the dud that was the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, where defense was virtually non-existent.
"Tignan natin, kung anong makakabuti sa liga, kung makakabuti sa atin, 'yun ang gagawin natin," Marcial said.