From long-time teammates to rivals.
That’s how Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson will become as they were voted as captains when the Philippine Basketball Association All-Star Game unwraps next month in Passi, Iloilo.
Aguilar and Thompson — both of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel — will serve as skippers of the two competing teams after emerging as top vote-getters in this spectacle that underwent major tweaks since it was institutionalized in 1989.
When the polls ended on 15 February, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar drew the most number of votes with 1,239,665 while the reigning Most Valuable Player Thompson placed second with 1,217,226.
With that, both Aguilar and Thompson will be given the honor of alternately selecting the players from the 24-man pool that fans have selected.
Among the players who made it to the pool were six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer with 1,207,592 votes as well as Jamie Malonzo and Christian Standhardinger of Ginebra, who wound up with 1,196,423 and 1,191,379, respectively.
Surprisingly, two-time MVP James Yap of Rain or Shine, who just returned to active competition at the start of the season-ending conference, wound up at No. 6 followed by LA Tenorio of Ginebra, Calvin Abueva and Mark Barroca of Magnolia and Stanley Pringle of Ginebra.
Other players who were able to crack the pool were CJ Perez of San Miguel, Paul Lee of Magnolia, Jayson Castro of TNT, rookies Gian Mamuyac of Rain or Shine and Jeremiah Gray of Ginebra, Terrence Romeo of San Miguel, Robert Bolick of NorthPort, Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, Roger Pogoy of TNT, Kevin Alas of NLEX, Chris Newsome of Meralco, Nards Pinto of Ginebra and Mikey Williams of TNT.
Placed on the reserve list are Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Jeff Chan of NorthPort, Calvin Oftana of TNT and Jio Jalalon of Magnolia.
Calling the shots for the All-Star squads are multi-titled coaches Tim Cone of Ginebra and Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine, who were selected as the top two mentors by the voting fans.