Akhuetie powers West past East
PERPETUAL Help center Bright Akhuetie sparkled in the All Star game while St. Benilde high flyer Yankee Haruna and San Beda sniper AC Soberano bested formidable competition in their respective skills challenges in the third NCAA All-Star showcase yesterday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Akhuetie shone the brightest with 16 points and nine rebounds as he powered Team West to a surprisingly trouble-free 111-77 rout of Team East in the highlight of the one-day festivity.
The 6-foot-8 Nigerian was named Most Valuable Player of the midseason showcase where the West avenged its narrow 88-89 loss to the East last year
“The most important thing here is that this game is for the all the fans, for the league and all the players who made it to this special occasion,” said West coach Jamike Jarin.
Perpetual Help’s Gab Dagangon, Arellano stars Jio Jalalon and Kent Salado and San Beda standouts Davon Potts and Donald Tankoua also played key roles in the West’s lopsided win.
With Jalalon pulling the strings in the offense, the West All Stars got off to an early advantage against the East team bannered by Letran hotshot Rey Nambatac.
Also grabbing the limelight were Haruna and Soberano.
The 6-3 Haruna, a 22-year-old Filipino-American swingman from New Jersey, tallied 79 points in the final round where he clinched the crown with a two handed dunk over mixed martial arts star Brandon Vera, who was also one of the judges in the competition.
Eugene Toba of San Beda took the lead after the first round, but the Red Lion muffed his last attempt, allowing Haruna to wrest the crown. Haruna beat Lervin Flores in a dunk off to reach the finals against Toba.
Finding his range early, Soberano fired 21 points in the finals to defeat San Sebastian’s RK Ilagan with 15 and Mapua’s Exe Biteng with 11.
Soberano also topped the first round in impressive fashion with 23 points.
Jose Rizal’s Darius Estrella, Cadell Buño, and Marvin Hayes topped the Shooting Stars Contest while Mapua’s Darrell Menina ruled the Skills Challenge. With reports from Delfin Dioquino, Miguel de Leon
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, Fajarito 8, Nambatac 8, Haruna 7, Munsayac 6, Onwubere 6, Ayaay 6, Baltazar 6, Domingo 4, Estrella 3, Luib 2, Sollano 2, Biteng 2, Menina 2, Caduyac 2.
Quarters: 35-17, 52-38, 81-55, 111-77
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