Arana gains confidence after winning MVP of the Blitz Game

Mar 29, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – The MVP trophy that Justin Arana won in the Blitz Game of the just finished PBA All-Star events had to be a confidence boost for Converge’s sophomore big man.

In the Team Greats vs. Team Stalwarts game including rookie, sophomore, and junior players, the 6-foot-7 Arana stood out as the finest player. He finished with 36 points (16-of-21) and eight rebounds, helping the Great’s defeat the Stalwarts 142-133 at the University of St. La Salle gymnasium in Bacolod.

After winning Rookie of the Year the previous season, the MVP honor is undoubtedly another feather in his crown.

“As a player, it’s always a big boost. Even if we’re not an All-Star, we still have confidence in ourselves,” Arana, the fourth overall choice in the Season 47 draft, stated.

“So I just take it as a confidence booster.”

Arana’s increased self-assurance would be very beneficial when he attempts to lead the FiberXers to their historic victory in the Philippine Cup when they return to action following the break during Holy Week.

Prior to the league’s break for the Lenten season and the All-Star weekend presented by ArenaPlus, Converge is the only team that has not yet recorded a victory (0-5).

“My team struggled, but of course we are still willing m

Even after winning the MVP award for the Blitz Game and an extra P30,000 in prize money, Arana admitted that his teammates were essential to his success.

“It’s really a team effort. My teammates and I really support each other, and of course each one of us cheers each other on,” he stated. “We just enjoyed sticking to the game plan of our coaches.”

With Barangay Ginebra deputy coach Patrick Partosa in charge, the members of Team Greats with Arana included Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Javi Gomez De Liano, Kenneth Tuffin, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Ralph Cu, Andrei Caracut, RK Ilagan, Alec Stockton, Gian Mamuyac, James Laput, and Shaun Ild

Meanwhile, Now a two-time All-Star MVP, Aguilar, Bolick is a legend

This Sunday’s game, which the PBA All-Stars clearly won, was botched by Japeth Aguilar and his squad. If there was any solace for the Team Japeth captain, it would be a share of the MVP title and a place in the select group of players who have won it several times.

In the historic 2024 PBA All-Star Game presented by ArenaPlus at the University of St. La Salle Gym here, Team Mark defeated Team Japeth 140-140 thanks to a legendary nine-point scoring spree by Robert Bolick in the closing minutes, which included a five-point play with 17.8 seconds remaining.

Bolick finished the game with just 13 points, but he was the star of the Bacolod highlight event, which would live on in the memories of many.

Bolick and Aguilar ultimately split the MVP award, making the Barangay Ginebra center/forward the ninth player to do so on several occasions.

Aguilar joined the select group that also included Jayjay Helterbrand, Vergel Meneses, Asi Taulava, Benjie Paras, and 

Arwind Santos, Jeff Chan, Terrence Romeo, and Matthew Wright. In Calasiao, Pangasinan, Aguilar and Santos shared first place in 2019.

Bolick’s play became legendary, and he became an All-Star.

Coach Tim Cone claimed to be making fun of Calvin Oftana for turning guard Bolick into a “legend” by drawing him in for an unwarranted foul, which forced the eventual co-MVP to the line in order to finish a “five-point play” and create a stalemate.

Cone forecasted a very lengthy run for the Bolick shows, including the winning 1989 All Stars play starring Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez.

After Bolick was named MVP, he stated, “It really should go to CJ (Perez), who scored 35 points. At first, I felt like I wasn’t an All-Star, but I said, ‘Okay, later, I am.'”

And Bolick said, “Japeth has already given it to me, because he already has a lot,”

Bolick was more than pleased that they could provide joy to their supporters.

Aguilar and Cone said the same thing, but they settled for a draw instead of winning.

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