MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) 2-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) James Yap emerged as the front runner in early balloting for the coming 2011 PBA All-Star game that the island paradise of Boracay is hosting for the first time.
Yap, the prolific shooting guard of the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados, garnered a total of 7,452 fan votes to lead all candidates consisting the line-up of both North and South teams for the event dubbed `Hala Bola Boracay 2011 All Star Weekend’.
According to PBA.ph, the former University of the East (UE) standout led the backcourt players for the South squad that included Jimmy Alapag of Talk `N Text (4,338), Cyrus Baguio of Alaska (3,933), Dondon Hontiveros of Air21(3,303) and Ronald Tubid of Barangay Ginebra (2,763).
Among the South's taller players (center/forwards), San Miguel’s Jay Washington is on the lead with 4,824 votes.
Following Washington’s lead is Talk `N Text's Kelly Williams(4,194), Meralco’s Asi Taulava (3,798), Ginebra’s Eric Menk (3,240) and the Alaska partners Joe Devance (2,997) and Sonny Thoss (2,799).
Pingris tops North
Yap’s Derby Ace teammate, Mark Pingris got the most number of votes so far among dribblers from the North.
Pingris received 3,807 votes to lead the list of leading North big men. Coming at second is his team mate Llamados Kerby Raymundo with 3,312 votes; and at third is 2010 All-Star MVP Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine’s with 2,988.
Also getting the fan's approval are Ginebra’s JC Intal (2,466), veteran San Miguel center Danny Ildefonso (2,160) and Ginebra’s Rudy Hatfield (2,124).
The popular Barangay Ginebra duo of Mark Caguioa and Willie Miller led the race among guards with 3,375 and 2,488 votes, respectively.
The other top candidates for the North team’s guards are L.A. Tenorio of Alaska (2,016), Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel (2,007) and Paul Artadi of Air21 (1,773).
The poll, which began on Feb. 27, will run until April 10. Votes are gathered on days when PBA games are being held.
Reserves for both North and South teams shall be chosen by the 9 PBA coaches. The coaches are prohibited from voting their respective players to the roster.
The rest of the participants in the other events like the 3-point shootout, skills challenge, shall be known on the first week of April.
Members of the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas National Team were not included in the poll as the Nationals are set to play in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Champions Cup, to be hosted by the Philippines from May 28 to June 5.
The All-Star week will run from May 18 to 23.
The previous All-Star game saw the North All Stars beating the South, 133-132.