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Veterans rout RSJs; KG slam king anew

KG Canaleta soars above three volunteers, the last of them 6-10 Asi Taulava, to complete the winning slam. JUN MENDOZA

LAOAG, Philippines – The Veterans ruled.

James Yap and company made good their vow to assert themselves against the league younger stars, fashioning out a 176-144 rout in the PBA All-Star Game watched by a sellout crowd at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena last night.

It was one-sided game but surely not devoid of highlight plays and moves expected from this annual mid-season spectacle.

The Veterans executed most of the crowd-pleasing stuffs, though, as they stamped their class on the RSJs (Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors), dominating the game from start to finish.

Both were winners as they sent the crowd rocking while doing surprise dance numbers during the callout. The youngsters gyrated to the tune of Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO while the oldies performed “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.  

Yap, the B-Meg main man who piled up an All-Star all-time high of 44 points, won the All-Star MVP honors. His teammates whooped it up as he banged away his record-setting final basket– a triple from the quartercourt – with nine seconds to go.

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Arwind Santos, Gary David, Alex Cabagnot, JC Intal, Sol Mercado, Gabe Norwood and LA Tenorio also came through with huge numbers in their 32-point victory – the most lopsided All-Star Game since the Robert Jaworski-mentored Vets team clobbered the RSJs, 146-118, in 1990.

Eight Vets put in at least 13 points each as their team easily topped the previous all-time biggest output made in an All-Star Game by the South team in its 163-158 overtime victory over the North squad in 2008.

Actually, both Yap and Dylan Ababou scattered 44, improving by two the previous all-time best individual output made by Samboy Lim in 1990. Lim won the MVP honors then.

Yap, a two-time regular season MVP winner, spiked his torrid shooting with a 7-of-14 three-point clip.

Santos was also awesome with 31 points and a record-tying 18 rebounds. He matched Kerby Raymundo’s rebounding mark set in 2007.

Yap engaged Ababou in a shootout while Santos and Norwood executed highlight slams.

Notes: KG Canaleta soared past three men, including Taulava, and slammed the ball in to earn a perfect 50 points for a perfect 100 in the final round, nosing out JC Intal for the championship. Intal had amassed 99 points before Canaleta was called to make his last routine.

Canaleta then called in Cong. Rudy Fariñas’ two sons – Rodolfo II and Rodolfo III – plus Taulava to line up as his hurdles in a supposed “fake daredevil routine.” It became a real act when Taulava deviated from play. ... “Asi made it tough because he didn’t go away,” said Canaleta, explaining later that Taulava was supposed to scamper away while he’s already on the approach. ... “I’ve picked up the momentum and so I decided to go on. Sabi ko bahala na,” added Canaleta.

Canaleta’s inner thighs hit Taulava in the neck but the 6-foot-4 player was able to stuff it in.

The scores:

Vets 176 – Yap 44, Santos 31, David 16, Cabagnot 16, Intal 15, Mercado 14, Tenorio 13, Norwood 13, Taulava 6, Thoss 5, Pingris 3.

RSJs 144 – Ababou 44, Urbiztondo 21, Casio 18, Maierhofer 12, Baracael 11, Barroca 10, Al-Hussaini 9, Ross 8, Lee 8, Lassiter 3.

Quarterscores: 53-30, 95-64, 134-105, 176-144

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