During the MPBL Executives All-Star game, Manny Pacquiao was a participant. Image courtesy of the MPBL
In the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League All-Star Game, which took place late on Sunday at the Batangas City Coliseum, the South division defeated the North division by a score of 109-92. The South pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
The South relied heavily on Jaycee Marcelino, Cedric Ablaza, Kyt Jimenez, and Mark Yee to turn the game around and reassert its dominance in the competition after trailing at halftime and up to the beginning of the last ten minutes, 75-76.
Marcelino was voted the Most Valuable Player after putting up 19 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Ablaza and Jimenez each finished with 17 points in the scoring column. The winning hit was a triple hit all the way from the outfield by Jimenez.
Damian Lasco of Muntinlupa led the North in scoring with 18 points, and he also grabbed 4 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and stole 2 balls.
In each and every All-Star game that has been played up to this point, the South, coached by Cholo Villanueva of Batangas, has prevailed over the North, coached by Jerson Cabiltes of Nueva Ecija.
Manny Pacquiao, CEO of MPBL and its founder, banked in a buzzer-beating triple in the opening round, which helped the South Executives preserve a 107-deadlock with their counterparts from the North.
Pacquiao, a boxer who has won world titles in eight different weight classes and who has also competed in the Professional Boxing Association (PBA), was selected the co-MVP of the North together with Paolo Orbeta.
The South came back from a 29-point deficit in in large part to the efforts of Pacquiao, who finished with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal.
Orbeta, a player who formerly played for College of St. Benilde and is now the owner of the Makati basketball club, finished with 39 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal for the North.
Other side events included a three-point shootout, which was won by Don Matillano of Muntinlupa over Ronjay Buenafe by a score of 18-17, and a slam dunk competition, which was won by Garex Puerto of Imus.
Matillano and Puerto both took home P50,000 for their efforts.
Before the All-Star game, Pacquiao delivered a speech that was both motivational and inspirational.
After expressing his happiness that the MPBL was able to continue operating this year with 22 teams, Pacquiao underlined the significance of maintaining the fairness of the competitions that were being held. Pacquiao has stated that there will be zero tolerance for any attempt to rig games within the league.
On Monday, the regular season of the MPBL will get back underway at the Paco Arena with a tripleheader of games. The games match Bataan against Marikina at 5 p.m., Pasig against Bacoor at 7 p.m. and Valenzuela versus Quezon City at 9 p.m.
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