Led by spitfire guard Jeff Viernes, the South All-Stars team coached by Don Dulay of the Davao Occidental Tigers, turned the tables around on their North counterparts on the way to a convincing 109-84 victory in the PayMaya-MPBL All-Star Game at the Mall of Asia Arena early Sunday morning.
Plucked as a wildcard by Coach Dulay, Viernes, the high-scoring guard from the Batangas City Athletics, scattered 14 of his 19 markers in the third period where the South team pulled away from a tight game and started to dominate.
This, aside from the timely baskets by celebrity baller Gerald Anderson also sparked the South in putting one over their Northern counterparts in this first-ever All-Star event put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner and backed by official outfitter LGR.
Anderson proved he belongs in the All-Star as one of the league’s leaders in steals as he played steady for a team composed of some of the finest and brightest players in the MPBL.
A two-way player seeing action for the Marikina Shoemasters, Anderson hit two buzzer-beating treys to end the half and the third period. He finished with nine points, but came away with five steals in a game supposed to be dominated by his more illustrious teammates.
Viernes, who was named as the Sista Bida-MVP of the game, also got plenty of help from the rest of the big guns.
Gab Banal of the Bacoor Strikers, the frontrunner for the MVP derby of the season, finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jhaymo Eguilos of the Batangas City Athletics and Reed Juntilla of the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines, also tallied 11 each while Mark Yee of the Davao Occidental Tigers contributed 10 markers in the longest one day, local sporting event that started late afternoon, but ended early Sunday morning due to delays in the coverage of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Earlier, players from the Bataan Risers ruled two side-events lined up in the All-Star festivities.
Gary David, a 40-year-old, former PBA scoring champion, turned back the hands of time when he topped the PayMaya-Three-Point Shootout.
The 6'2" gunner came up with 18 points in the elimination round, enough to make the cut in the final round. In the finals, he was tasked to shoot first, but immediately put pressure on his younger rivals when he knocked down 23 points.
His Bataan teammates, Pamboy Raymundo and Byron Villarias dominated the PayMaya-2-Ball Challenge as the duo shot the fastest time where players are allowed to shoot with a time limit of 90 seconds.
Also winning in another side-event was David Carlos of the Makati Super Crunch.