PUERTO PRINCESA - Ever dreamt of seeing your favorite homegrown talents like James Yap, Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee and Beau Belga go up against foreign-trained and raised cagers like Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Asi Taulava, Greg Slaughter and Stanley Pringle?
Well the dream match-up may happen soon.
Following the success of the current PBA All Stars here in Puerto Princesa City, the league's board of governors has met at the sidelines and looked at new concepts to sustain the interest in the annual mid-season classic, including a possible Homegrown vs Fil-foreign showdown.
PBA chairman of the board Patrick Gregorio told Spin.ph that among of the innovations he has submitted to the league board for approval is the tweaking of the All Stars format.
From the current South versus North match-up, Gregorio bared he has suggested to revise the set-up and introduce a more interesting showdown pitting homegrown players against Fil-foreign stars.
“Tingin ko magugustuhan ng PBA fans 'yun, even the players themselves. Kasi matagal ng may rivalry sa hardcourt yung mga locals at foreign-bred players natin,” said Gregorio, one of the top executives in the circle of businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan.
“Kasi pag ganun ang format (Homegrown versus Fil-foreign) mas may pride ang players. Dun makikita mo walang petiks na laro. Everybody will go harder and who will benefit from it? Our beloved fans,” he added.
Gregorio believes that with the current players roster in the PBA, the league can come up with competitive and evenly matched rosters for both teams.
“Kaya nating bumuo ng team ng homegrown at Fil-foreign. Ang dami nating players,” Gregorio said.
The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters alternate governor also cited some interesting player match-ups if and when the board approves his proposal.
“Imagine, lalabas d'yan ang rivalry ni (Gregory) Slaughter at ni June Mar (Fajardo), tapos may Jayson Castro ka pa against Stanley Pringle then James Yap against (Chris) Lutz or (Marcio) Lassiter. The competitive potential is boundless,” he said.
Outgoing PBA commissioner and newly appointed first ever league Chief Executive Officer Chito Salud welcomed Gregorio’s proposal, something that he said will now be among the priority bills that the board will tackle.
“It has been submitted to the board. It’s a good idea, but it is still up to the decision of our board of governors,” said Salud, shortly after accepting the president and CEO posts offered by the team owners that was given a 12-0 approval by the board.
Salud also bared that another suggestion for next year’s All Stars is to again play Gilas Pilipinas 3.0 against the best of the best in the league.
“Marami rin kasing suggestion, baka pwede nga ring yung Gilas ang palaruin sa next All Stars,” he said.
Aside from the homegrown versus Fil-foreign match-up, Gregorio is also looking into the possibility of re-introducing the one-on-one showdown of PBA stars as part of the Skills Challenge, which only has the Obstacle Challenge, Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk competitions.
“We would want to see our best one-on-one players go up against each other in front of the fans,” he said while rattling off match-ups like the Paul Lee-Terrence Romeo and Slaughter vs Fajardo clash.
“The league is growing and we continue to take the challenge. It’s also one of the reasons why we pushed for the re-organization of the league. We have a CEO who will monitor and steer the league in other aspects and then you have the commissioner, who will solely focus on game affairs of the league,” said Gregorio.