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Barroca 3-pointer forces deadlock

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Mark Barroca scored a three-pointer with 47 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Mindanao All-Stars came back from a 12-point deficit to hold Gilas Pilipinas to a 114-all tie last night in the first leg of the PBA All-Star Week at the jampacked Xavier University gym here.

The Star Hotshots guard, who turned 31 on the eve of the annual extravaganza, came through with the tying basket with an open shot from the top of the arc after the All-Stars trailed 93-81 late in the third quarter.

Terrence Romeo, one of the crowd darlings in this bustling city, missed a jumper for Gilas on the ensuing play, giving the Mindanao selection a chance to win the first of the three-game series featuring the national team and the league’s top stars representing their respective regions.

Scottie Thompson and hometown kid Jio Jalalon had chances to save the day for their team. However, Gilas center June Mar Fajardo made sure that the contest would end in a stalemate.

Thompson drove off the outstretched arms of Fajardo but failed to convert on the shot. A wild sequence ensued with Gilas’ Kevin Ferrer failing to corral the rebound, leading for Jalalon to give the Mindanao team a second chance.

But Jalalon’s double-pumped attempt was blocked by the league’s reigning three-time Most Valuable Player, thus resulting in only the second draw in All-Star history, the other being the 124-all tie between Gilas and the PBA All-Stars in Davao on a last-second triple by Jeff Chan of the national team.

TNT KaTropa’s Troy Rosario of the Mindanao selection and Phoenix rookie Matthew Wright of Gilas shared the Cloudfone All-Star MVP honors for this leg.

Rosario scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half, including a three-point shot that gave Mindanao a 59-55 halftime lead. His performance – though on the other side of the fence – should solidify his inclusion to make the Gilas squad for the SEABA Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in May.

Wright, on the other hand, was the topscorer of Gilas with 22 points, the last three from rainbow country that gave the national squad a 110-105 lead with 3:37 left.

Mindanao inched its way to tie, with Barroca scoring the last five to secure the outcome.

Last night marked the first time Gilas played in a tune-up ahead of the May 12-18 SEABA tilt, with Fajardo, Romeo, Rosario among the participants expected to make the cut alongside Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan, Jayson Castro, Allein Maliksi, Raymond Almazan and Japeth Aguilar.

Those still on the bubble were hoping to catch the eye of Gilas coach Chot Reyes, who is set to announce the final 12 tomorrow following the Nationals’ match with the Luzon team in Lucena City.

Meanwhile, Gilas won the dance off competition over Mindanao, a customary occasion held before the game. NLEX’s Glenn Khobuntin, on the other hand, led a three-man team that won the Shooting Stars Competition.

Scores:
MINDANAO 114 – Rosario 28, Simon 14, Barroca 13, Amer 10, Lastimosa 9, Baguio 8, Tautuaa 8, Jalalon 6, Khobuntin 6, Reavis 5, Thoss 4, Thompson 3, Belo 0.

GILAS PILIPINAS 114 – Wright 22, Romeo 18, Fajardo 16, Pogoy 14, Cruz 11, Revilla 10, Tolomia 10, Ferrer 7, Torres 2, Gotladera 2, Guinto 2, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 24-24; 59-55; 86-93; 114-114.

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