THE MPBL held its first-ever All-Star Game on Saturday (and Sunday). It was a historic night for the fledging league as it showcased the best players under the bright lights of the Mall of Asia Arena.
Here are the highlights of the event:
Manny Pacquiao sees action in the Executive Game
The All-Star festivities began with team owners, team managers, and even coaches played in the Executive Game with the North teams battling their counterparts from the South. The biggest attraction of the game was the MPBL founder himself in the eight-time division boxing champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino boxing superstar, who once served as the playing coach of the Kia franchise in the PBA, flirted with a double-double as he finished with 28 points and eight rebounds. Unfortunately, the General Santos native was on the losing end of the match with the North Executives prevailing, 102-100.
Andrew E, Lito Camo perform
Intermission numbers in the All-Star festivities also had star power with rapper Andrew E performing before the start of the skills challenges. The popular dance group Philippine All-Stars also performed during the introduction of the All-Star players. Lito Camo also sang (or lip sync) the MPBL theme song he created before a good-sized crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
‘El Granada’ explodes
Gary David proved that he still has the skills to shoot from threes as he won the MPBL three-point shoot-out. The former Gilas Pilipinas standout won in the final by scoring 23 points, beating out fellow former PBA player John Wilson as well as other younger players for the crown. It was David’s first-ever three-point shoot-out title.
David Carlos dominates slam dunk contest
As expected, professional dunker David Carlos of the Makati Super Crunch bagged the league’s first-ever slam dunk contest. However, the contest might be remembered for the misses instead of the made dunks as most of the competitors struggled to impress the judges that included high-flyers Vergel Meneses and Nelson Asaytono.
South wins All-Star game that ended on a Sunday
The All-Star festivities began on a Saturday, but it ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning as the game itself began at 12:01 a.m. The match finished at 1:17 a.m. with the South All-Stars beating the North All-Stars, 109-84.
The MPBL All-Star event was forced to push back its start time as the league waited to finish the UAAP women’s volleyball doubleheader also shown on its league’s broadcast partner ABS-CBN S+A. Both games though ended in five sets.
When the game was finally played, it was Jeff Viernes who shone the most as he finished with 19 points as the Batangas City-Tanduay Athletics cager bagged the Most Valuable Player award.
A brand-new Ford Ranger raffled off
Most of the fans who trooped to the Mall of Asia Arena not only went to watch the league’s star players, but also looked forward to their names being called during the raffle. The MPBL gave away motorcycles during the duration of the festivities. At the end of the All-Star game, the league also raffled off a brand-new Ford Ranger.
No less than Pacquiao who randomly picked the winner of the pick-up truck, but on the condition that the person drawn is still at the venue. With the festivities going way past bedtime of most fans, it took the fourth try before a winner was finally picked. Like Pacquiao said during the drawing in the raffle, “Kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga.”