MANILA, Philippines – At the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season All-Star Game held at the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga City, the North selection ultimately defeated their South counterparts, winning 99 to 91.
The imposing Justine Baltazar led the North side with 20 points, 23 rebounds, and 6 assists to end the South’s three-edition dominance and win MVP honors. Baltazar, who is currently leading the regular season MVP race, received assistance from Encho Serrano of Pampanga, who chipped in with 21 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter when the South temporarily led by 77 to 74. After falling behind by as much as 23 to 47 in the middle of the second quarter, this happened.
Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda’s North team was led by Nueva Ecija’s Roi Sumang, who scored 13 points, while Adrian Nocum of San Juan, Jboy Gob of Rizal, and Rob Celiz of Makati each scored 8 points.
John Wilson of GenSan contributed 18 points and 7 rebounds to the smaller South selection, Jaycee Marcelino of Zamboanga, the reigning MVP, contributed 16 points and 8 rebounds, Jhan Nermal of Bacoor contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds, Poypoy Actub of Imus contributed 9 points, and the powerful Joseph Gabayni of Zamboanga contributed 8 points.
The North team earned P350,000 from MPBL Founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao, while the South team was given P150,000. The South team had previously defeated the North team in the inaugural All-Star Games by scores of 109 to 84, 126 to 122, and 109 to 92.
Prior to that, Pacquiao recorded a triple-double by scoring 33 points, dishing out 15 assists, and pulling down 11 rebounds as the South thrashed the North 114 to 63 in the Executives’ game of the gathering that Camaya Coast, through its president, Goody Ilagan, was hosting.
Dom Matillano of Bacolod was deposed as the MPBL 3-Point king by San Juan head gunner Orlan Wamar, who made a perfect shot on the second rack.
In the Slam Dunk competition, CJ Gania of Pampanga outperformed Justine Guevarra of Bulacan and audience favorite Poypoy Actub of Imus. Kenneth Duremdes, the MPBL Commissioner, presented the winners with their prizes.