North All-Stars over-power South All-stars; Jimmy Alapag officially retires | The Summit Express

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North All-Stars over-power South All-stars; Jimmy Alapag officially retires



MANILA, Philippines – Coach Leo Austria added one more championship trophy to his case by beating Coach Alex Compton and his South Squad 166-161 to wrap-up the 2015 PBA All-Star Weekend on Sunday, March 08, 2015.

Jimmy Alapag officially retired on PBA
Jimmy Alapag officially retired on PBA | Credit: Jose Santiago Tan

If there will be a “highlight of highlights” at the PBA All-Star Weekend, that will be the traditional All-Star Dance-off Battle between North Stars and South Stars.

The North Squad, headed by PBA All-Filipino Finals MVP and recording artist Arwind Santos started the dance showdown and surprised the crowd with their athletic bodies when they took off their jerseys and swayed to the tune of Katawan by Hagibis.

The very talented Joe Devance and the rest of the South company rocked the house with 90’s and 2000’s RNB hits. Asi Taulava who is 42 years old and the oldest active player in the PBA showed that he is really far from over, even in dancing. The 13 year All-Star Veteran admitted that this is the 1st time that he joined the dance-off.

Purefoods Hotshots and Gilas Forward Jean Marc Pingris gave the North team its first 2 points. Ginebra teammates Greg Slaughter and 2015 Slam Dunk runner-up Japeth Aguilar showed the fans of what to expect in the game by punishing the rim left and right by thunderous slams as early as the 1st quarter.

Barely couple of minutes had gone by, Jimmy “Mighty Mouse” Alapag was sent in by South Stars Head Coach and Alaska Aces Mentor, Alex Compton to replace his starting point guard Mark Andy Barocca. Alapag’s entry served as his final PBA game after hanging his jersey after 12 successful years of duty and had the last chance to reunite with his long-time pal and brother-from-another-mother since Mobiline days, Asi Taulava.

PBA future greats and All-star first timers Terrence Romeo who was on fire last Friday at the Rookie verus Sophomores game and top draft pick Stanley Pringle tried to replicate their superb performances against the best and more experienced players in the league. Pringle immediately hit couple of ring-less treys plus an alley-oop dunk from Gilas gunner Jeff Chan. While the leading scorer of the league and newly crowned 3-point king Terrence Romeo, showcased his quickness by passing and cutting through Coach Leo Austria’s Big Men minus reigning PBA MVP Junmar Fajardo who opted out of line up due to an injury.

You know if it’s an All-Star game when your Big Men bring the ball coast to coast and shoot three pointers without the head coach getting annoyed and paranoid. Both North Star Centers Asi Taulava and Greg Slaughter grabbed the opportunity and enjoyed the perks of entertaining the crowd with their freestyle basketball plays. The 7’1” Ginebra Giant, closed the half with a flawless shot behind the arc 88-81 in favor of the South Squad.

The second half was solely dedicated to the 12 year veteran, 6-time finals MVP, 11-time All-Star, Gilas Pilipinas Team Captain, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters Team Manager and FIBA Official Jimmy “Mighty Mouse” Alapag. The PBA has now officially retired the 5’9” basketball legend’s number 3 three jersey. It’s a norm in the PBA and other leagues around the world that once a great player has retired his jersey, no one on that specific team can ever use the same number just like PBA ultimate legend Sonny Jaworski of Ginebra San Miguel and “His Airness” Michael Jordan of Chicago Bulls. Fil-Ams Danny Siegel, Harvey Carey and Kelly Williams who are all good buddies of Alapag were all present in his retirement ceremony in support and appreciation of the latter’s achievement and contribution to the flag, country and the league itself.

LA Tenorio started the scoring for the North in the second half. The Ginebra Court General replaced his fellow guard Mark “Spark” Caguioa who is also nursing an injury and wore his jersey number 47.

Coach Alex Compton’s group hit its 100th point Mark with under 7 minutes of the penultimate quarter.

The North finally caught-up with Mark Pingris’ lay-up and finally snatched the lead with Calvin Abueva’s break-away dunk in the opening minutes of the final quarter. The “Beast” had 30 plus point after that slam.

The South gang didn’t give up so easily with Jimmy Alapag orchestrated their offense firing 12 points, grabbing 5 boards and 17 unbelievable assists to close the gap within 4 points 165-161 but North Sophomore Guard Terrence Romeo brought his All-Star Friday stellar performance to the All-Star game proper and connected threes and tallied 30 points to give his team the win and bagged the PBA All-Star Game MVP and added Php60,000 more to his 3-Point shootout cash prize last Friday.

As a consolation prize, the South Team won the Dance Showdown which happened before the game started.

After this well-deserved break for all PBA players and staff, action will resume this Wednesday, March 11 with Blackwater Elite faces Alaska Aces in the first game and crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will try to continue its winning streak against Al Thornton-backed-up NLEX Road Warriors. - D' Waterboy, TheSummitExpress