NORTH TRIMS SOUTH IN ALL-STAR GAME
BAGUIO, APRIL 30, 2007 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - The North team, getting tremendous boost from backcourt players Jayjay Helterbrand and Willie Miller, fashioned out a mind-boggling 145-142 come-from-behind win over the South squad in the 2007 PBA All-Star Game at the jampacked University of Baguio gym here last night.
Helterbrand paced the North with 25 points, including the team’s last eight points, while Miller came through with the first-ever triple-double performance by any player in an All-Star Game with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
They were later adjudged co-Most Valuable Players to the roaring approval of the highly appreciative crowd that filled to the rafters the venue with a sitting capacity of 4,000.
Helterbrand and Miller did put up a class act, standing out from an array of stars that shone brightly in the classic game that provided a climactic ending to the five-day mid-season spectacle.
With a previous All-Star MVP award won in Laoag in 2004, Helterbrand is now the fourth player with at least two All-Star MVP plums after Vergel Meneses, Asi Taulava and Benjie Paras. The Ginebra spitfirish guard erupted for 38 points in Laoag.
Miller, meanwhile, became the seventh player with MVP awards in regular season and in the All-Star Game, joining the ranks of Meneses, Taulava, Paras, Allan Caidic, Danny Ildefonso and Kenneth Duremdes. He was the league’s MVP in 2002.
Kerby Raymundo pulled down an all-time All-Star Game high of 18 rebounds that went with 18 points. Three other North All Stars in Gary David, Danny Ildefonso, Mark Caguioa, Romel Adducul and Rico Villanueva also finished in double figures.
Kelly Williams had a spectacular debut in an All-Star Game with 28 points and 10 points. He had a chance to tie the count in the closing seconds but missed a slam on an alley-oop throw-in by Jimmy Alapag.
Sta. Lucia’s prized Fil-Am also made a record, becoming the first rookie to collect double-double numbers in the All Stars. He was the second rookie to lead an All-Star Game in scoring after Boy Cabahug in 1989.
"We had fun and great satisfaction after winning the game," said coach Jong Uichico, who improved his All-Star Games win-loss record to 3-0.
Curiously, Uichico won his second All-Star Game with the South squad in Cagayan de Oro last year.
The South showed great determination to invade the North’s turf by coming out strong to lead by as many as 20 points right in the opening quarter.
The North team, however, buckled down to work and made giant strides in the two middle-quarters, getting ahead at 114-109 going into the payoff period.
Uichico and his boys worked on a great turnaround that they enjoyed double-digit spread in the final quarter after falling behind by 22 at the start of the second period.
Williams gave the South team its largest lead at 68-46 on a "three-point jam."
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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