PBA finally dumps North vs South All-Star Game in favor of a regional format
The new All-Star concept can pave the way for a Pampanga vs Cebu game pitting Calvin Abueva against June Mar Fajardo. Jaime Campos

IMAGINE an all-Pampanga unit of Arwind Santos, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Ian Sangalang, and Jayson Castro going up against a team from Cebu composed of June Mar Fajardo, JR Quinahan, Dondon Hontiveros, Aldrech Ramos, and rookie Roger Pogoy.

In effect, that’s how the All-Star festivities of the PBA’s 42nd season should look like if plans to finally deviate from the traditional North versus South format push through.

New PBA board chairman Mikee Romero has thrown on the table a proposal of holding a weeklong event featuring a first-ever All-Star regional competition.

The new All-Star format, suggested by the Globalport team owner during the PBA board’s annual planning session in Seoul, Korea that ended Sunday, will have players from the country’s biggest regions being pitted against each other.

The new set-up would allow competing teams to form an all-Pampanga roster, against counterparts from Cebu, Ilocos, Mindanao or even Bicol.

Fil-Am players will have their own corresponding unit as well.

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Mindanao, for example, can be represented by Peter June Simon, RR Garica, Mark Barroca, Mac Belo, and Carlo Lastimosa, while an all-Ilonggo team featuring James Yap, Jeff Chan, Reynel Hugnatan, Cyrus Baguio, and Noy Baclao, and Anjo Caram can be formed.

It hasn’t been fully discussed how players will be spread out to the different regional teams, but the mid-season spectacle will have stops in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

“For the All-Star, I want a regional theme. Ang point eh, maka-connect ang regional fans sa All-Star event,” said Romero, who was officially handed the league chairmanship by predecessor Robert Non of San Miguel during the November 2-6 planning session.

“That’s the concept. Assignment ni Commissioner Chito Narvasa ang final set-up,” added Romero, who’s pushing the league to take new directions in an effort to reach more Filipino basketball fans and broaden the PBA fan base.

He said the same concept is behind the idea in the league’s plan to hold a D-League in both the Visayas and Mindanao.

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