PBA veterans rout RSJ five
High-scoring winBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAOAG—The only thing that was a “Thriller” in the PBA All-Star Game last night was the dance number put up by the Veterans.
After gyrating to the immortal Michael Jackson mega-hit to announce their entry, the Veterans ripped the Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors (RSJ) squad, 176-144, in a record-setting night that brought the curtains down on the league’s annual show featuring its top players.
The RSJ squad was simply no match for the seasoned Veterans, who practically toyed with their younger foes in the matchup that, despite what the final score said, was appreciated by the fans that braved the heat at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena here.
It was also the Veterans who provided showtime in the game, with Gabe Norwood and Arwind Santos connecting on electrifying dunks, and James Yap presiding over an outside onslaught that the RSJ couldn’t match.
Yap and Dylan Ababou now own the highest-scoring performances in All-Star history after shooting 44 apiece to lead their respective sides. Yap was later adjudged All-Star MVP.
And the result was the most lopsided match-up in the history of the game, which was institutionalized in 1989 with a game won by Ramon Fernandez for the Veterans. He received a great assist in the dying seconds from former teammate and later bitter rival Robert Jaworski to fire the shot that decided it, 132-130.
Samboy Lim held the old record of 42 points. This was also the previous biggest win margin in history. Lim was the 1992 MVP.
The Veterans’ output was also the most by any team in the All-Star Game, easily eclipsing the 163 scored by the South in an overtime win over the North in 2008 in Bacolod.
Kenneth Duremdes, the retired 1998 MVP, converted the half-court shot with 19 seconds remaining to tow his team with Jamie Fariñas to the Shooting Stars title at halftime.
“It always nice to coach the Veterans because you can go to cruise control for most parts of the game,” said coach Ryan Gregorio.
VETERANS 176—Yap 44, Santos 31, David 16, Cabagnot 16, Intal 15, Mercado 14, Tenorio 13, Norwood 13, Taulava 6, Thoss 5, Pingris 3.
RSJ 144—Ababou 44, Urbiztondo 21, Casio 18, Maierhofer 12, Baracael 11, Barocca 10, Al-Hussaini 9, Lee 8, Ross 8, Lassiter 3.
53-30, 95-64, 134-105, 176-144