LAOAG CITY — James Yap scored 44 points on seven three-pointers and presided over the Veterans’ record-setting 176-144 beatdown of the Rookies, Sophomores and Juniors squad Sunday at the Centennial Arena.
Big Game James won Most Valuable Player honors, marking his second such award in eight days after winning the top plum last Sunday in the Commissioner’s Cup finals.
Yap also tied with Ginebra rookie Dylan Ababou to break Samboy Lim’s All-Star Game scoring record, which was previously set at 42 points. Lim posted the high mark in the 1990 game — a 146-118 rout for the Vets — curiously the first time the league used the Veterans versus RSJ format. (The 1989 All-Star Game involved Veterans versus Rookies and Sophomores.)
The 32-point margin also marked the most lopsided in PBA history. The Veterans also set an all-time record in points scored, breaking the 163-point mark posted by the South team in an overtime win over the North.
“It’s always nice to coach the Veterans because you can go to cruise control,” said Veterans coach Ryan Gregorio, who improved his All-Star game record to 3-1. “For most part of the game, I was just like everybody else, an interesting spectator. But towards the end, we wanted not only to win the game, but also to set some records.”
The game was over early, with the much bigger Veterans torching the hoops to take a 53-30 lead in the first quarter. The Vets’ lead at the half ballooned to 95-64, turning the second half into an entertaining game of extended garbage time.
The game turned exciting late in the game as Yap and Ababou both tried to chase Lim’s mark. Ababou got to the record first, but Yap hit his last three-pointer in the dying seconds to get his name into the books as well.
There were also plenty of highlight plays. Sol Mercado connected with former Rain or Shine teammate Gabe Norwood for a thunderous alleyoop dunk that looked straight out of a video game. Arwind Santos, who scored 31 points, had several monster slams, the biggest off a pass from Petron Blaze teammate Alex Cabagnot.
Perhaps among the biggest highlights of the match were the respective dance entrances of the teams. RSJ came out rocking the shades, and danced to the LMFAO hit “Party Rock Anthem”. Not to be outdone, the Veterans came out with hoods over their heads, before revealing their zombie makeup to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
Veterans (176) – Yap 44, Santos 31, David 16, Cabagbot 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, Barroca 10, Al-Hussaini 9, Ross 8, Lee 8, Lassiter 3
Quarters: 53-31; 95-64; 132-105; 176-144
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