SAN JUAN City – A switch in team names hardly mattered as the West All-Stars demolished the East All-Stars, 111-98, at the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-Star Game Friday (August 12) at the San Juan Arena. In the end, the result boiled down to an opportunity for the league’s best players to have fun together and for a brief moment set aside the intense rivalries on the court.
The West led all the way from the opening tip as starters Bright Akhuetie, Ervin Grospe, Davon Potts and the ace backcourt of Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado helped set the tone early, 35-17. The West – consisting of players from San Beda, Jose Rizal, Arellano, Perpetual Help and San Sebastian – upped their advantage to as high as 38 markers, 111-73, on the strength of a 30-point output in the fourth period.
Akhuetie bulldozed his way to game Most Valuable Player honors with 16 and nine rebounds in only 17 minutes of action. His Perpetual Help teammate Gab Dagangon came off the bench to hit 14 points to go with six rebounds.
Jorem Morada of Emilio Aguinaldo paced the East All-Stars with 13 points and six rebounds. Rey Nambatac of Letran and Christian Fajarito of Saint Benilde followed with eight points each as they were joined by players from Lyceum and Mapua Tech.
In the side events, Saint Benilde’s Yankie Haruna gave his school something to celebrate about as he topped the Slam Dunk Contest by beating San Beda’s Eugene Toba. After Haruna missed his first dunk, all Toba had to do was to convert a simple stuff but the 6’9” Nigerian exchange student bungled all his attempts to hand the title to Haruna, who finished runner-up a year ago to Lyceum’s Jebb Bulawan.
AC Soberano of San Beda displayed uncanny accuracy to rule the Three-Point Shootout with a 21-point effort in the final round followed by Arkie Ilagan of San Sebastian in second with 15 points while Exe Biteng of Mapua Tech placed third with 11 points.
Darrel Shane Menina of Mapua Tech ruled the Skills Challenge Obstacle Course by besting Kraniel Villoria of Arellano in the head-to-head finals. Meanwhile, the Jose Rizal trio of Darius Estrella, Cadel Buno and alumni Marvin Hayes bagged the first ever Shooting Stars Challenge, completing all shooting spots in an amazing 27 seconds.
Institutionalized in 2014, the East took the inaugural, 104-97. The West got back the following year, 89-88.
The second round of the eliminations will begin next week with a five-game Juniors Division bill on Monday (August 15). The Seniors start action with three games the following day.
How They Scored:
WEST (111) – Akhuetie 16, Dagangon 14, Jalalon 10, Salado 10, Tankoua 10, Calisaan 9, Grospe 7, Pontejos 7, Fabian 7, Potts 6, Sara 5, Teodoro 4, Cadavis 2, Coronel 2, Costelo 2.
EAST (77) – Morada 13, Nambatac 8, Fajarito 8, Haruna 7, Onwubere 6, Munsayac 6, Baltazar 6, Aya-ay 6, Domingo 4, Estrella 3, Sollano 2, Luib 2, Menina 2, Biteng 2, Caduyac 2.
Period Scores: 35-17, 52-38, 81-55, 111-77.