NBA All-Stars trip PBA All-Stars in exhibition game
The visiting NBA alumni defeated their PBA counterparts, 112-93, in the PLDT All-Star Basketball Challenge on Wednesday, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The American selection featured all-time greats Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Mitch Richmond, Jason Williams, Horace Grant and Cliff Robinson, as well as younger journeymen Victor Alexander, Chris Campbell, Charoy Bentley and Jeff Trepagnier. The team was coached by NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
The Philippines was represented by their own legendary players, including Jojo Lastimosa, Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino, Bong Hawkins, Vince Hizon, EJ Feihl, Bal David, Nelson Asaytono and Jerry Codinera.
Williams, who won a championship as point guard of the Miami Heat, led all scorers with 26 points. He displayed his shooting prowess with five three-point baskets, and his arsenal of ball-handling skills that earned him the nickname, "White Chocolate."
Before the game began, the University of the Philippines Pep Squad kicked off the event with a cheerleading performance. After the respective player introductions, the teams were handed individual plaques of appreciation by representatives from the SM group.
Jason Williams fed a cutting Pippen in the lane to notch the first points of the game. Williams ran down the court on the next possession to hit a three, and Mitch Richmond drained another in an opening 8-2 run for the American All-Stars.
The Philippines, unfazed by their taller opponents, began to go inside often. Nelson Asaytono and Kenneth Duremdes scored baskets in the lane to counter another trey from Williams, trimming the deficit to three, 11-8. The Americans promptly countered in a run highlighted by a floater from Pippen, to take a 17-10 advantage for the American All-Stars.
Marlou Aquino led an inspired effort for the PBA All-Stars, scoring six straight in a 10-5 run that made it a one-possession deficit, 22-20. The Americans, however, scored six in the final two minutes to end the first period with a 26-20 lead.
In the second quarter, a trey by Asaytono sparked a brief run for the Philippines, which was completed when Bal David fed Aquino off a cut to bring the deficit back to single digits, 41-33. But Williams once again dazzled his foes with his bold playmaking producing an 8-4 run. He then placed the finishing touches himself, stealing the ball on an inbounds play and lobbing it to Pippen for a two-handed dunk for a 49-37 lead.
The teams treated the audience to a shootout as time wound down–Williams and Richmond rifled three-balls on consecutive plays, and Duremdes countered from deep for the PBA All-Stars each time. Williams however had the final say, assisting on an undergoal stab by Grant, then swiping an errant pass on the next play to pad the Americans' lead, 59-44, at halftime.
EJ Feihl scored beneath the basket when play resumed, but Williams raised the stakes with a pair of triples en route to an early 8-4 run for the Americans. The Philippines in turn began bombing away from deep, as treys from Hizon and Lastimosa highlighted a 10-2 countersurge for the PBA All-Stars to trail by eleven, 69-58.
After a rash of PBA turnovers resulted in consecutive baskets by Williams, the crowd anticipated a breakaway slam from Campbell. Instead he came up short, and Rodman playfully shoved him into the sidelines.
Although the opposing teams traded many high fives within the game, the exhibition took on a more playful tone after that as the veterans traded a few light-hearted jabs at each other. Locsin tapped Robinson on the cheek after the latter showed disbelief at a foul call. Rodman literally hugged Aquino to deny him a pass, only for Aquino to get the ball back, hook his arm around Rodman on a drive, drawing a foul in the process.
Nelson Asaytono played to the crowd, facing away from the basket and twisting around for a charity make. He and Duremdes baited the Americans with pump fakes towards the quarter's end, although the Philippine All-Stars faced a 79-69 deficit.
Hawkins and Duremdes led a rejuvenated PBA team in the final frame and combined for a 9-4 run, 83-77, capped by a Duremdes triple. But the Americans in turn displayed their long-range prowess as Bentley, Pippen and Robinson drained a triple each in an 11-2 run that dimmed any hopes the fans had for a down-the-wire ending.
With 16 seconds left to play during a timeout, Dennis Rodman took a microphone and acknowledged the presence of his father whom he hadn't seen in 42 years.
Scottie Pippen also addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support. He also gave a special shoutout to fans of the Chicago Bulls, the team which he won six NBA titles with.
"You did a great job [coming out here], and we tried to make it fun for you guys," said Pippen. "Thank you for being kind, showing support." - AMD, GMA News
Quarter scores: 28-20, 59-44, 79-69, 112-93
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