PLAYERS in the MPBL All-Star Game endured a late start after the match began in the wee hours of Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The MPBL was forced to start the All-Star festivities at a later time after the UAAP women’s volleyball game that was also shown on ABS-CBN S+A ended late due to the matches reaching five sets. As a result, the MPBL All-Star Game started at 12:01 a.m., Sunday as side events such as the three-point shootout, slam dunk contest, and two-ball competition were also held.
The late start drew different reactions from coaches and players.
South All-Stars coach Don Dulay said coaching at midnight was not the hardest part during the early Sunday morning match.
“Actually the hardest thing was rotating the players. Ang dami eh,” said Dulay. “15, all can play. That was the hardest. Good thing we were leading big.”
Dulay said the players didn’t show signs of fatigue that came with playing at midnight.
“I knew these guys. In the locker room, from the beginning of the game, they want to win talaga,” Dulay said. “The fire was there, the fight was there. It was just a matter of time when they turned it on. I was expecting a tight game in the end.”
Gerald Anderson of the South All-Stars admitted it was also challenging to play at midnight, but the team took it upon themselves to give the fans at the venue a good game.
“Medyo matagal siya pero ang importante, nakapagpasaya kami ng tao. I think we gave them a good shot and a good game. Uuwi sila ng nakangiti,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he is also used to playing at midnight.
“Kaya din ako natuto mag-basketball kasi may ring ako sa harap ng bahay namin, naglalaro kami hanggang madaling araw kasi ‘yun ang free time ko. Sanay ako maglaro ng ganitong oras. Pero iba ‘yung organized basketball,” said Anderson.
Gary David of the North All-Stars admitted he also had to adjust to the midnight game more so since he is already 40 years old and saw action in the side events prior to the All-Star match.
“Grabe lalo na sa akin. Hindi ko sinasabing bata pa ako pero mahirap talaga. Sobrang tight ‘yung mga legs ko, hindi ako makagalaw,” said David, who prior to the All-Star Game competed and won in the three-point shootout.
Mark Yee of the South All-Stars, meanwhile, was he was too excited to think about the midnight start to the game.
“Kahit na ganung oras ‘yun, sobrang saya namin kasi nakalaro kami sa All-Star Game,” said Yee.