On a night of fun that was made more special by a large number of rim-rattling dunks, long bombs and jaw-dropping crossover moves, North proved to be the better team as it pulled off a 154-151 win over South in the PBA All-Stars Game last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Though both teams started slow – they made some comical errors as expected – they began to a stage a show late in the first quarter as they put their court wizardry and marksmanship in full display.
San Miguel’s Alex Cabagnot emerged as the biggest star of the show as he led North with 29 points, including 11 in the fourth period. He shot 13-of-21 from the field and added five rebounds and three assists in more than 26 minutes of action.
Globalport’s Terrence Romeo also shone offensively, adding 25 points.
The impressive numbers were enough for Cabagnot – on his fourth All-Stars appearance – to clinch the MVP award.
North’s win made up for its defeat to South in the traditional dance-off where the latter collected the handsome of prize of P150,000. North settled for P75,000.
The team handled by Rain or Shine mentor Yeng Guiao rushed to a 16-point lead, 42-26, in the first period behind the combined efforts of Romeo of Globalport and TNT’s Troy Rosario and Mark Caguioa of Ginebra.
Although the South squad rallied to take a slim lead, the North All-Stars refused to be intimidated it grabbed a nine-point lead on a jump shot by Star forward Marc Pingris, 150-141, with 2:42 left.
Reigning two-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo of SMB starred in the South’s comeback by scoring eight straight in an 11-2 run that trimmed the deficit to 152-141 with 33 seconds to play.
Fajardo almost brought the house down when he made a behind-the-back dribble against Caguioa on the way to the basket.
North All-Stars 154 – Cabagnot 29, Romeo 25, Aguilar 21, Rosario 21, Pingris 16, De Ocampo 13, Caguioa 9, Castro 8, Norwood 7, Pringle 3, Lee 2.
South All-Stars 151 – Fajardo 25, Garcia 22, Lastimosa 21, Cruz 20, Devance 17, Yap 13, Chan 12, Barroca 11, Taulava 4, Quinahan 2, Ross 2, Thompson 2.
Quarters: 42-33, 79-73, 117-115, 154-151