‘Flying A’ steals show as Greats nip Stalwarts
LAOAG—Johnny Abarrientos showed he still has the speed and footwork to lose defenders on the dribble; Ato Agustin still brandished a jumpshot that seemed to have extended way beyond the three-point area. And Kenneth Duremdes could still float for fancy layups.
Some members of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players list laced up a pair of snickers to form the nucleus of two teams that played for fun last night with the Greats nipping the Stalwarts, 143-139, at the steaming Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena here.
Though he failed to lead the Stalwarts to the win, it was the “Flying A” Abarrientos who showed that he could still play with the young ones in the league, with his court vision still unparalleled and his jumpshot as lethal as ever. He completed a triple double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists.
Agustin, the 1992 MVP, was adjudged the game’s MVP after helping jumpstart the Greats’ offense and finishing with 19 points that all came in the first half.
The legends of the game were joined by some active players who will not be playing in the All-Star Game tomorrow, and Willie Miller of Barako Bull was one of the brightest after shooting 29 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and issuing six assists for the Greats.
Duremdes, a teammate of Abarrientos when they established the 1990s dynasty that was Alaska, led the Stalwarts with 29 markers.
Alvin Patrimonio and Jojo Lastimosa were the playing coaches of the Greats and the Stalwarts, respectively, in a match that served as the opening treat of the PBA All-Star
Mark Macapagal of Meralco highlighted the pre-game offering as he was again crowned the PBA’s best shooter yesterday with his third straight 3-Point Shootout victory.
Macapagal wrapped up the title after converting the money ball worth two points in the fourth rack, finishing with 15 points to easily eclipse the 13s of Barangay Ginebra’s KG Canaleta and B-Meg’s Josh Urbiztondo.
Marcio Lassiter, the rookie who transferred to Petron Blaze late last month, shot last but could only manage seven.
“Definitely, I will join next year and try to extend the record,” Macapagal told reporters after becoming the first three-time winner of the event. “It would be a great challenge.”
Allan Caidic, Jasper Ocampo and Boyet Fernandez, now all retired, were the other two-time winners of the 3-Point Shootout.
B-Meg’s Jonas Villanueva also made it three straight in the Obstacle Challenge after nipping Paul Lee by two-tenths of a second with his time of 31.1 seconds despite missing one jumpshot.
Macapagal and Villanueva each won P20,000 for their efforts.
Asi Taulava and Mac Cardona of Meralco have been tapped to replace Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo in the centerpiece All-Star Game tomorrow after both Talk ‘N Text aces elected to skip the event to rest.
Meanwhile, Jay-R Reyes will join Meralco after a deal with Alaska was approved in principle by commissioner Chito Salud yesterday.
Gabby Espinas, who won the NCAA MVP and Rookie of the Year on the same season, will join the Aces starting the Governors’ Cup on May 20. Draft picks have also been included in the deal.
NOTES: Gov. Imee Marcos, from calling herself WOP (Wife of PBA) for 15 years while being married to Grand Slam-winning coach Tommy Manotoc, fondly calls herself an MOP (Mother of PBA) nowadays. “From being a wife (of a coach), I am the mother of a Jerry McGuire-wannabe,” Marcos said during a press conference Thursday. Marcos was referring to the Tom Cruise movie about a sports agent. Her youngest son by Manotoc, Matthew, is now a player-agent who represents, among others, Lassiter and Chris Lutz of Petron.
GREATS 143—Miller 29, Canaleta 21, Seigle 20, Mercado 19, Agustin 19, Cortez 10, Yeo 8, Lastimosa 7, Racela 6, Patrimonio 4.
STALWARTS 139—Duremdes 29, Chan 18, Cardona 17, Taulava 16, Caidic 15, Simon 14, Baguio 11, Abarrientos 10, Anthony 9, Isaac 0.
Quarters: 33-29, 74-75, 104-112, 143-139
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