MPBL All-Star: South defeats North once again; Manny Pacquiao nails game-winning buzzer-beater in Executives game. In the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League All-Star Game late Sunday at Batangas City Coliseum, the South division pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the North, 109-92.
South trailed at halftime and up until the last ten minutes, 75-76, and relied on Jaycee Marcelino, Cedric Ablaza, Kyt Jimenez, and Mark Yee to turn the game around and reestablish its dominance in the tournament.
Marcelino was voted MVP after scoring 19 points, dishing out 7 assists, and grabbing 3 rebounds. Ablaza and Jimenez both had 17 points. Jimenez finished the game with a triple from the left side.
Damian Lasco of Muntinlupa led the North with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. The South, led by Batangas’ Cholo Villanueva, has defeated the North, led by Nueva Ecija’s Jerson Cabiltes, in each of the previous All-Star games.
In the opener, MPBL CEO and founder Manny Pacquiao hit a buzzer-beating triple to help the South Executives break a 107-all tie with their counterparts from the North.
Pacquiao, MPBL All-star an eight-division world champion who also competed in the PBA, was chosen co-MVP alongside North’s Paolo Orbeta. Pacquiao led the South to a 29-point comeback with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. Orbeta, a former College of St. Benilde Blazer and Makati team owner, led the North with 39 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal.
Other side events saw Muntinlupa’s Don Matillano edge Ronjay Buenafe in the 3-point shootout, 18-17, and Imus’ Garex Puerto dominate the slam dunk competition at the MPBL All-star. Matillano and Puerto each received P50,000. Pacquiao delivered a motivating speech before the All-Star Game.
Pacquiao underlined the importance of maintaining the integrity of the games after expressing his happiness that the MPBL was able to continue with 22 teams this year. Pacquiao said that the league would have a zero-tolerance policy for game-fixing at the MPBL All-star. The MPBL returns to action on Monday with a triple-header at the Paco Arena. Bataan will play Marikina at 5 p.m., Pasig will play Bacoor at 7 p.m., and Valenzuela will play Quezon City at 9 p.m.