Gary D. named MVP as Gilas tops PBA All-Stars

Gilas Pilipinas certainly took to heart the tough challenge given by PBA All-Stars head coach Tim Cone.

The Nationals turned back the PBA Selection 101-93 behind a timely explosion from wingman Gary David in the payoff period to rule the 2014 PBA All-Star Game before a sizeable Sunday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

After settling for a 124-all standoff in their previous meeting held at the Digos City in Davao del Sur last year, Gilas came up fired up this time against an All-Star crew that practically gave them all they could handle especially on the defensive end.

Gilas still came up with their guns a-blazing notably in the third canto as they exploded for 33 points to turn a close seven-point halftime lead into a comfortable 82-64 cushion going to the final 12 minutes. But the All-Stars refused to simply fade into the night, employing a tight 2-3 man-zone defense while forcing a handful of turnovers to move within 75-86 with more than nine minutes left to play.

But the 6-foot-2 David rose to the occasion and sparked a telling 9-2 run to restore their lead back to 18 with less than seven minutes remaining.

The All-Stars battled back again behind reigning league MVP Arwind Santos and San Mig Super Coffee guard PJ Simon to threaten at 84-95, setting up a potential fightback.

David, however, had other things in mind as he translated a harried kickout by guard LA Tenorio into a clutch, shotclock-beating triple from the left arc that clearly knocked the wind our of the All-Stars' sails for another 14-point cushion, time down to just five minutes.

David went on to finish with 15 points, nine of them coming in the payoff canto, to bag the All-Star Game honors and take home P30,000.

Four other cagers, led by Jeff Chan’s 17 points, also scored in double figures for the Nationals, who bagged P100,000.

Going for naught with the All-Stars' defeat was the double-double output of Ginebra’s rookie center Greg Slaughter, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

In their pre-game dance showdown, the Nationals, wearing white masks and gloves, displayed a JabbaWockeez-inspired routine using the lively songs “Whoops Kiri,” “The Fox” and “Let It Go.”

Not to be outdone was the PBA Selection, which even hoisted cards that read “Laban Pilipinas, PUSO!” in support of the Nationals.

Then San Mig Super Coffee guard Mark Barroca, sporting a wavy wig, led the their routine to the tune of “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” before his teammate, Joe Devance, took centerstage and even delighted the crowd with his “twerking” moves before the Selection collectively finished it also with their own version of “Whoops Kiri” dance.

The All-Stars won the dance showdown and earned a P50,000 prize.
 
The Main Man:  Doing what he does best, Gary David took up the cudgels for the Nationals in the payoff canto as he sparked a telling 9-2 run to hold off the searing Selection’s fightback.
 
Honorable Mentions: Backing up David were shooter Jeff Chan, Jayson Castro, June Mar Fajardo and naturalized player Marcus Douthit, who all scored at least 10 points.
 
Game Turning Point: David made a big triple off a timely feed from Tenorio, pushing their lead back to 98-84 while dousing cold water on Selection’s last-hurrah going to the final five minutes.
 
He Said It:
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes: “I think this game can really help us. It may just be one game but to us it means a lot.”
 
The scores:
Gilas Pilipinas 101 - Chan 17, David 15, Fajardo 13, Castro 12, Douthit 10, De Ocampo 7, Norwood 7, Aguilar 7, Lee 5, Dillinger 4, Fonacier 3, Pingris 1, Alapag 0, Tenorio 0, Belga 0.

PBA All-Stars 93 - Lassiter 12, Slaughter 11, Santos 9, Simon 9, Yap 8, Barroca 8, Thoss 8, Ellis 7, Baracael 6, Devance 6, Abueva 6, Canaleta 3.
Quarterscores: 28-23, 49-42, 82-64, 101-93

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