PBA looks to innovate All-Stars after thrilling edition
SHINIER ALL-STARS

PBA looks to innovate All-Stars after thrilling edition in Bacolod

Robert Bolick Japeth Aguilar PBA All-Star Bacolod

Robert Bolick (left), who nailed a “legendary” basket to cap the All-Star game, shared the MVP trophy with —PBA IMAGES

Tim Cone thinks the shot that sewed up the PBA All-Star Game here in Bacolod City will be talked about for 10 more editions of the midseason classic.

“It’s a legendary shot,” he said of Robert Bolick’s basket that tied the count at 140 in the showdown between Team Japeth and Team Mark at University of St. La Salle on Sunday night. “It’s gonna be an All-Star stuff of legends shot. The next 10 All-Star (editions) are gonna talk about that shot.”

There’s no word yet on where the next edition will be held, but PBA commissioner Willie Marcial will make sure there’s going to be more to talk about outside of that key basket.

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Marcial said on Monday that the Slam Dunk contest is sure to make a comeback while the big man edition of the three-point shootout could be a regular fixture.

Meralco’s Raymond Almazan won the shootout for bigs, then made a suggestion for the next All-Star Weekend.

“Why not put the three-point shootout for big men and the Slam Dunk contest, so it would be entertaining for the fans?” Almazan said.

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The composition of the teams for the centerpiece All-Star Game, which had been determined through fan voting the last two years, could be tinkered to make sure all member ballclubs are represented.

Two provinces interested

Tim Cone PBA All-Star Game Bacolod Team Japeth

Team Japeth coach Tim Cone during the 2024 PBA All-Star Game in Bacolod.–PBA IMAGES

Marcial has yet to announce the site for the 2025 event but said that two provinces have expressed interest as host.

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Cone called the shots for Team Japeth, which led all the way before a furious fightback by Team Mark.

“You know, we were dominating and led it for the whole game and then just got socked in the end,” Cone said.

READ: PBA All-Star: Tim Cone rues blown lead but happy for fans

Bolick hit an off-balanced four-point basket over Calvin Oftana to bring the Mark Barroca-skippered crew within one with 17.8 remaining. He went on to hit the freebie to tie the game and give the Ilonggo crowd a moment in basketball history that they will talk about for ages.

“I was kidding Calvin that Robert’s gonna owe him some money from the endorsement he gets for being an All-Star legend,” said Cone.“[But] that’s what he does, he makes those incredible shots. That’s why he’s an All-Star,” he added.

Fumbled chance

Cone acknowledged that his squad fumbled a chance to win the game, but he was also aware of what was at the heart of the midseason festivities that had been going on since 1989.

“[This] leaves us a bit of a sour taste in our mouths because we had the lead for the whole game. [But] the bottom line is that this is for the fans. It was a beautiful game for the fans,” he said.

Bolick and Japeth Aguilar were named co-Most Valuable Players (MVP) of the match.

The last two editions of the midseason spectacle have been held in Western Visayas, with the 2023 All-Stars played in the Iloilo City of Passi.

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A packed crowd witnessed the All-Star finish at University of St. La Salle Coliseum, with several fans having to be turned away—a complete contrast to the turnout in Saturday’s skills competitions and Rookies Sophomores Juniors Game. INQ

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