PBA All-Star snub for Alex Cabagnot saddens coach Leo Austria, teammate Santos
Only two players - Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo - from Philippine Cup champion San Miguel made the All-Star lineups, with point guard Alex Cabagnot oddly missing out. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria expressed his disappointment upon learning that the Beermen’s top playmaker Alex Cabagnot failed to make the reserve spot in the North team for the 2015 PBA All-Star Games set on March 8 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Austria felt Cabagnot has proven his worth this season, as shown by his solid stats line of 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists when he helped the Beermen capture their first Philippine Cup championship since the 2001 season.

“Medyo malungkot lang ako dahil we all know pagdating sa stats, nandun siya sa top. Pero ganun talaga sa All-Star,” Austria told Spin.ph, just before the team’s rematch against Philippine Cup Finals victim Alaska on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

However, Austria explained that he does understand the selection process for the All-Stars.

“Pero I think it’s normal (to see a good player left out) kasi alam mo naman sa All-Star Game, botohan iyan, so it’s up to the fans kung sino gusto nila makita,” he said.

“Then, yung head coaches naman ang pumipili ng reserves. Eh di mo naman puwede iboto ang player mo, kaya kahit gusto ko kunin si Alex, di pa rin puwede.”

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On the other hand, San Miguel forward Arwind Santos, one of only two Beermen to make it to the the All-Star game, believes his left-handed teammate is arguably one of the top three best point guards of the PBA today.

June Mar Fajardo is the only other All-Star this season for the Philippine Cup champions.

“Kung sa point guard ang pagu-usapan, nasa top three si Alex kasi nandun si JV Casio at (LA) Tenorio. So iyang tatlong yan saka kung ako lang magde-decide, kukunin ko siya (Cabagnot),” said Santos, who’ll be playing in his seventh All-Star Game since emerging as the second overall pick in the 2006 PBA Rookie Draft.

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This year’s All-Star Games has reverted to the North vs. South format after a two-year absence.

The North will be bannered by the starting five composed Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Mark Caguioa and Justin Melton. The five garnered the most number of votes from the fans.

The reserves, who were selected by the PBA coaches, include Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Paul Lee, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Terrence Rome and Santos.

The South team will have a tall frontline that includes June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter and Asi Taulava, along with guards James Yap and Mark Barroca.

The reserves include Jeff Chan, Peter June Simon, Dondon Hontiveros, Cyrus Baguio, Joe Devance, Reynel Hugnatan and Jimmy Alapag, who will be playing his last All-Star game since retiring last month.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava