MARC Barroca was as surprised as everybody else after he emerged as the leading vote-getter for this year’s PBA All-Star week.
The Star Hotshot guard received a total of 32,793 votes from fans who cast their ballots either in game venues or online to beat the likes of favorites James Yap of Rain or Shine, Globalport’s Terrence Romeo, Marc Pingris of Star, and San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo.
Barroca admitted he wasn’t even aware of it until SPIN.ph called his attention when the votes were officially announced by the league on Thursday.
“Sa iyo ko nga lang nalaman kasi hindi ko naman nasusubaybayan yung botohan,” said Barroca over the phone. “Siyempre, malaking pasasalamat (sa mga fans) dahil isang karangalan ang maboto bilang top notcher sa All-Star.”
Finishing second behind Barroca was Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson (18,641), followed closely by Yap (18,612), Fajardo (18,012), and Peter June Simon of Star (16,486).
Romeo got 15,069 while Pingris had 11,079.
[See Fajardo, Romeo, Yap head high-powered Visayas starting cast in All-Stars]
A part of the original Smart Gilas team, Barroca leads the starting unit of the Mindanao All-Stars, who clash with the national team of coach Chot Reyes on April 26 at the Xavier University gym in Cagayan de Oro City to kick off the special three-leg All-Star week.
Barroca, who hails from Zamboanga City, is suiting up in his fifth All-Star and will be a starter in the mid-season spectacle for the third time.
But the 30-year-old guard hopes he’ll be on the winning side this time as he admitted losing in all his four previous All-Star appearances.
“Lagi akong talo sa All-Star. Ang puro panalo ako doon sa sayawan,” he said laughing, obviously referring to the ‘dance off’ between the two All-Star teams that has become a regular fanfare during the yearly festivities.
“Sana makatikim naman ng panalo this time,” he added. “Yung All-Star naman para magbigay kasiyahan yan sa fans, wala namang pressure diyan. Pero minsan kapag naiisip kong di pa ako nananalo, parang nape-pressure tuloy ako.”
The Mindanao All-Stars will be handled by Star coach Chito Victoloero, which quickly makes Barroca feel at ease.
“At least kabisado niya na ako, and kabisado ko na rin siya,” said Barroca, a five-time champion player with the Hotshots.
Being a former national mainstay, Barroca said playing in the All-Star is also his way of personally helping Gilas Pilipinas. The national team is using the three-leg event as part of its preparations for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship this May at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Basta national team, open tayong sumuporta at tumulong,” he said.