(STAR) By Nelson Beltran  – The home team and the home crowd triumphed in the 19th PBA All-Star Game.

It should have been an automatic draw but the crowd begged for overtime, and the league obliged, giving the South All Stars the chance to pull off a 163-158 victory in a memorable game capping the 2008 Smart All-Star Week.

First-time All-Star player Peter June Simon stole the show from home boys James Yap and Reynel Hugnatan, scoring a game-high 29 points, including five in overtime as the Southerners avenged their loss to their North counterparts the last time in Baguio.

Simon, from Davao, was later named All-Star MVP.

The two teams are now even with four wins and four losses in the annual mid-season spectacle.

Yap and Hugnatan missed a shot each inside the last 30 seconds that could have won it right away for the Southern alliance in regulation play.

It should have been a 149-all draw but the crowd and the players themselves didn’t want the game to end that way.

With commissioner Sonny Barrios, the league board and the competing teams agreeing to an extra time, the crowd roared its approval.

Hugnatan shattered a 154-all deadlock on a lay-up then Simon banged away a trey and Williams added a twinner as the South team raced ahead to stay at 161-154.

The two teams had the crowd rocking and rolling with them even before the get-go as they gyrated on the court after being introduced as the 2008 All-Star players. The Northerners did the “papaya” and the “kagat-labi” while the Southerners danced to the hit tune “Crank That” by the Soulja Boy.

Yap broke the ice with a lay-up and led all scorers with 16 but the Southerners trailed by one, 78-79, at the half.

Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Kerby Raymundo had double-figure outputs right in the first half where the North team had its biggest lead, 71-64.

Meanwhile, active top guns outgunned the old-timers for the second straight year in the Legend Shootout.

The trio of John Arigo, Dondon Hontiveros and Renren Ritualo topped the team of Boyet Fernandez, Rhoel Gomez and Boy Cabahug, 49-45.

Arigo and Hontiveros pumped in 18 points each with Ritualo adding 13. Fernandez topscored for the legends with 17 with Gomez contributing 15 and Cabahug 13.

“They beat us three in a row and we’re still looking to catch up,” said Hontiveros, who together with Willie Miller and Gary David, beat Fernandez, Pido Jarencio and Ato Agustin, 49-35, last year.

Cabahug, Gomez, Allan Caidic, Al Solis, Alvin Patrimonio, Frankie Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Jojo Lastimosa and Ricric Marata formed the legend teams that triumphed in Cebu in 2004, Laoag in 2005 and Cagayan de Oro in 2006.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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