THERE haven't been a lot of memorable PBA All-Star Games lately, and a call to shut down the midseason spectacle isn't really unfair.
Well, for quite a while now, the PBA All-Stars has stopped being entertaining, mostly because league officials have ran out of ideas to keep it interesting, and its star players have stopped having fun in a supposedly FUN game.
The way the 2019 All-Star Weekend in Calasiao, Pangasinan started out on Friday, it looked as if it would be condemned to the dustbin of PBA history as one of those dreary events that no one will remember in a year's time.
For how can you remember a three-point shootout that saw the winner score just 17 points, except that the winner was sentimental favorite PJ Simon. Or a slam-dunk contest that hardly wowed, all because it came just days after Fil-Am NBA prospect Jalen Green, 17, put on a show of aerial artistry of the highest standard in the NBTC National Finals.
Not even a close Rookies/ Sophomores vs Juniors game capped by Javee Mocon's game-winning tip-in at the buzzer could raise hopes that this PBA All-Star Weekend would be any different from previous forgettable editions.
All-Star Sunday actually didn't start auspiciously, with a shootout that hardly raised the decibel level inside the Calasiao Sports Complex. It didn't help that the contest, again shamelessly copied from the NBA edition, lacked star power.
But just when we're about to give up on the entire weekend, along came an All-Star Game that was actually fun to watch. Thanks to a game Calvin Abueva, the dance-off wasn't really off and actually got the fans warmed up.
The game started briskly with dunk after dunk by Ginebra high-flyer Japeth Aguilar and that set the tone for the next two hours, which witnessed an array of highlights to keep the fans at the venue interested - and keep fans watching on television from fiddling on the remote control.
As the finals seconds ticked away in a 185-170 victory by the North All-Stars, the players were having so much fun they were laughing among themselves and kidding around like teenagers playing a friendly pick-up game.
That was exactly the mood that made this All-Star Game better than most. One of the better ones, definitely. But that's not to say this All-Star showpiece is no longer an endangered specie.
The PBA must come up with more interesting ideas to keep this spectacle going. If not, they can simply wait for Kobe Paras to turn pro before holding another dunk contest.
Meanwhile, let's feast on some of the memorable images from this year's showcase: