South tops North as Viernes, Anderson shine in MPBL All-Stars
Spitfire guard Jeff Viernes and celebrity baller Gerald Anderson fuel the South All-Stars' dominating win over the North squad


BIG WIN. The South squad bags the crown and the P500,00 top prize in the All-Stars showdown. Photo from PayMaya


MANILA, Philippines – The South All-Stars team proved to be a one solid unit when it comes to playing for pride – and money.

Led by spitfire guard Jeff Viernes, the South team coached by Don Dulay of the Davao Occidental Tigers overwhelmed their North counterparts, 109-84, in the PayMaya-MPBL All-Star Game at the Mall of Asia Arena early Sunday morning, March 3.

Plucked from the wildcard by Dulay, Viernes, the high-scoring guard from the Batangas City Athletics, scattered 14 of his 19 markers in the 3rd period when the South team pulled away from a tight game and started to dominate.

This, aside from  the timely baskets by celebrity baller Gerald Anderson also sparked the South in putting one over their Northern counterparts in this first ever event put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner. 

Anderson, one of the league’s leaders in steals, proved he belongs in the All-Star as he played steady all game.

A two-way player seeing action for the Marikina Shoemasters, Anderson hit two buzzer-beating treys to end the half and the 3rd period. He finished with 9 points, but got away with 5 steals in a game supposed to be dominated by his more illustrious teammates.

Viernes, who was named as the Sista Bida-MVP of the game, also got plenty of help from the rest of the big guns.

Gab Banal of the Bacoor Strikers, the frontrunner for the MVP derby of the season, finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for the South, which pocketed a P500,000 prize. 

Jhaymo Eguilos of the Batangas City Athletics and Reed Juntilla of the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines also tallied 11 each, while Mark Yee of the Davao Occidental Tigers contributed 10 markers in the longest one day, local sporting event that started late Saturday afternoon and ended early Sunday morning.

Earlier, players from the Bataan Risers ruled two side events lined up in the All-Star festivities. 

Gary David, the 40-year-old former PBA scoring champion, turned back the hands of time when he topped the PayMaya-Three Point Shootout.

The 6-foot-2 gunner came up with 18 points in the elimination round, enough to make the cut in the final round. In the finals, he was tasked to shoot first, but immediately put pressure on his younger rivals when he knocked down 23 points.

His Bataan teammates, Pamboy Raymundo and Byron Villarias, dominated the PayMaya-2-Ball Challenge as the duo shot the fastest time where players are allowed to shoot with a time limit of 90 seconds.

Also winning in the slamdunk side event was David Carlos of the Makati Super Crunch. –