On The Fly: Looking at the 2023 PBA All-Star Game Snubs

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The 28 players who will take part in the 2023 PBA All-Star game were announced earlier in the afternoon.

But ever since the All-Star voting process was announced, fans can’t help but comment on the process itself. The All-Star selection process this year feels more like a popularity contest (due to fan votes being the only criteria to qualify as an All-Star).

Taking into consideration the year-long performance of the players, we decided to look at this year’s biggest All-Star snubs and who they should replace.

Note: True Shooting (TS%) is a metric used to measure scoring efficiency for all shots, while Effective Field Goal Percentage (EFG) is a metric similar to True Shooting but does not take into account free throws.

juami tiongson terrafirma
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Juami Tiongson, Terrafirma Dyip

Philippine Cup Averages: 13.4 points | 2.0 assists | 4.2 rebounds | 0.6 steals

Commissioner’s Cup Averages: 16.7 points | 3.4 assists | 2.7 rebounds | 0.7 steals 

Governors’ Cup Averages: 22.7 points | 2.8 assists | 3.8 rebounds | 1.0 steals

Four players are currently averaging more than 20 points this conference. One of them is Juami, a non-All-Star, while the three (Roger Pogoy,  CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick) are All-Stars. Among the four players, Tiongson had the second-best efficiency with 65.3% True Shooting, compared to Perez’s 56.4% and Bolick’s 55.9%. Only Pogoy had the better efficiency with 68.5%. 

Who Should He Replace: LA Tenorio

Tenorio is a PBA legend no doubt about that, but if we are talking about their performance this season alone, LA has been average at best and a bench warmer at worst. This is highlighted in the current Governor’s Cup where he is only averaging around two points and an assist in seven minutes. Juami should take his spot.

don trollano nlex
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Don Trollano, NLEX Road Warriors

Philippine Cup: 16.0 points | 2.3 assists | 5.8 rebounds | 0.9 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 18.0 points | 2.0 assists | 5.6 rebounds | 0.7 steals

Governors’ Cup: 11.3 points | 2.7 assists | 3.2 rebounds | 0.5 steals

Although Trollano’s performances dipped this conference, there is no doubt that he is one of the reasons why NLEX is at the upper half of the league. In a heavier offensive role, Don has flourished while maintaining an efficient 58.7% TS in all conferences this season. 

Who Should He Replace: Jeremiah Gray

While Gray has emerged as one of Ginebra’s key players this conference, his all-around production for the whole season is not at an All-Star level yet. His talent and situation will surely elevate him to such heights next season, but it is not yet his time right now. Don should have his spot.

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Maverick Ahanmisi, Converge FiberXers

Philippine Cup: 10.6 points | 4.7 assists | 5.8 rebounds | 1.3 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 10.7 points | 3.6 assists | 5.5 rebounds | 1.2 steals

Governors’ Cup: 18.3 points | 2.8 assists | 6.5 rebounds | 1.5 steals

Among the local players from Converge, he has been their best scorer at an efficient mark (58.7% TS). His scoring and efficiency are also better than All-Stars Mikey Williams (15.4 points on 50.5% TS), Chris Newsome (13.8 points on 52.0% TS), and Mark Barroca (12.2 points on 55.7% TS). Mav’s leap in his production and his impact on winning basketball should have gotten him a sure spot as a PBA All-Star this year.

Who Should He Replace: Nard Pinto

The Ginebra guard is actually on a tear this conference, tallying around 11 points on a ridiculous 69.5% TS (highest among players averaging double-digits in points). But looking at his production and performance the whole season, it’s clear that more guards have performed better and are more deserving of his spot. Ahanmisi is one of them.

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Jason Perkins, Phoenix Super LPG

Philippine Cup: 16.0 points | 2.7 assists | 7.8 rebounds | 0.8 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 11.8 points | 0.8 assists | 2.6 rebounds | 0.2 steals

Governors’ Cup: 18.0 points | 3.2 assists | 6.2 rebounds | 1.0 steals

With Matthew Wright’s departure, Perkins has ramped up his all-around production and is clearly an All-Star right now. Looking at the averages in this conference alone, he is right up there in the company of elite PBA forwards, a group that includes All-Stars Calvin Abueva (13 points, 3 assists, 8 rebounds), Arvin Tolentino (16 points, 4 rebounds), and Jamie Malonzo (16 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds). 

Who Should He Replace: Gabe Norwood

Gabe Norwood has had a decorated career in the PBA, but I can’t say much for him this season. Averaging just four points, two assists, and three rebounds in 22 minutes of play are not All-Star numbers. Perkins should have been given this spot instead.

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Allein Maliksi, Meralco Bolts

Philippine Cup: 13.0 points | 1.5 assists | 4.1 rebounds | 0.9 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 11.7 points | 1.2 assists | 3.4 rebounds | 1.1 steals

Governors’ Cup: 17.4 points | 1.0 assists | 4.2 rebounds | 1.4 steals

Among the five players who took at least seven three-point shots per game, Allein Maliksi was the most efficient with a 57.5% EFG. This is in comparison to three current All-Stars included in this category: Paul Lee (54.3%), Mikey Williams (49.5%), and Robert Bolick (47.1%). The 35-year old sharpshooter continues his prolific scoring this season and should have been an All-star along with his teammate Chris Newsome.

Who Should He Replace: Jeff Chan

The thing is, both Chan and Maliksi possess similar playing styles. But one is having one of the best conferences of his career, while the other is a rotation player in the worst team in the PBA right now. Maliksi got robbed on this one.

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Tyler Tio, Phoenix Super LPG

Philippine Cup: 11.7 points | 1.4 assists | 2.3 rebounds | 0.7 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 12.9 points | 3.5 assists | 2.2 rebounds | 1.0 steals

Governors’ Cup: 11.2 points | 4.0 assists | 2.2 rebounds | 0.3 steals

Unlike the other players aformentioned on this list, Tio’s production and efficiency doesn’t stand out much. But what’s impressive for Tyler is how he maintained his numbers while taking on an increased load on offense. He’s a borderline All-Star for now, but with how the other All-Stars looked throughout the season, Tio should be right up there with teammate Jason Perkins.

Who Should He Replace: Terrence Romeo

Don’t get me wrong, Terrence Romeo is clearly the better player here. But given Romeo’s lack of games this season and Tyler Tio’s consistency, Romeo has not earned the right to be named an All-Star this season. The recognition should instead be awared to Tio.

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Aaron Black, Meralco Bolts

Philippine Cup: 14.6 points | 4.4 assists | 5.2 rebounds | 0.3 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 13.6 points | 4.4 assists | 5.8 rebounds | 0.8 steals

Governors’ Cup: 9.8 points | 4.5 assists | 5.8 rebounds

Aaron Black put up All-Star numbers in the first half of the season. While he is going through a scoring slump right now, Black is still one of the better all-around guards in the league, enough for him to have a strong case to be an All-Star this season. In this conference, there are only seven players who averaged more than four assists and five rebounds per game — all of them are All-Stars except for Black.

Who Should He Replace: Stanley Pringle

Despite reaching the twilight of his career, Pringle has managed to be an elite role player on a championship-contending team. But does he deserve a spot as an A All-Star this year? No, and Black has more than earned that spot.

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Rey Nambatac, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

Philippine Cup: 14.0 points | 3.0 assists | 5.0 rebounds | 1.1 steals 

Commissioner’s Cup: 12.7 points | 3.3 assists | 3.9 rebounds | 0.9 steals

Governors’ Cup: 15.8 points | 4.0 assists | 2.8 rebounds | 1.0 steals

Many fans have been sleeping on Rey Nambatac for quite some time now, and while some may argue that he is just a good player on a bad team, his numbers throughout the season says otherwise. Nambatac has upped his efficiency from around the 45% to 50% range, to 61.0% True Shooting in the Governors’ Cup. As the lead guard for Rain or Shine, he has also grown into one of the league’s more reliable point guards, as he continues to increase his assists averages, compiling a career-high of 4.0 dimes this conference.

Who Should He Replace: James Yap

James Yap is, and will always be right up there in the conversation for the PBA’s all-time best scorers. But this is the only conference he has played in this season and he has been average at best. Yap’s teammate Nambatac should have been a shoo-in as a PBA All-Star.

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