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PBA All-Star Game ends in thrilling draw

BACOLOD CITY, March 25 ------ Robert Bolick hit a tough four-pointer over the outstretched hand of Calvin Oftana with 17.8 remaining and then sank a freebie as the PBA All-Star game between Team Mark and Team Japeth ended in a 140-140 draw. 


The NLEX ace hit the long-distance shot with 17.8 ticks left at University of St. La Salle here before knotting the contest from the charity stripe, completing a sensational comeback for Mark Barroca’s squad which trailed by as many as 31 points. Bolick finished with 13 points and was named co-Most Valuable Player alongside Japeth Aguilar, who delighted the Ilonggo crowd with his 21 points and empathic dunks. “Napaganda pa,” Aguilar told reporters on his way out of the venue. “‘Di mo na iisipin sinong panalo o talo.” 


The last time a PBA All-Star Game ended in a draw was back in 2008 at West Negros University Gym, incidentally also in Bacolod City. The North and South All-Stars figured in a 149-all deadlock before then commissioner Noli Eala decided that the game be settled through an extra period, which the Southern eventually won, 163-158. Another exhibition that ended in a stalemate was the Gilas Pilipinas versus Mindanao All-Stars’ in Cagayan de Oro in 2017. The final score was 114-all. 


CJ Perez had 39 points for Team Mark, while Barroca had 20. Rookie Ricci Rivero, June Mar Fajardo, and Calvin Abueva all finished with at least 15 points to backstop Bolick’s late-game heroics. Roger Pogoy led the way for Team Japeth with 25 points, Marcio Lassiter chipped in with 24 more while Jamie Malonzo, Arvin Tolentino, and Terrence Romeo all delivered twin-digit scores. Team Japeth, despite missing some stars like Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger, was on pace to win it until that big shot by Bolick. 


Oftana, who was crowned 3-Point King the night before, muffed the layup that would’ve won it the game for Team Japeth. James Yap, the 18-time All-Star and the “Bacolod Vote,” finished scoreless in the contest. 




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