PBA stars make Bacolod return

Paul Lee (center) emerges as Most Valuable Player after powering Team Japeth to a 140-136 victory in the PBA All-Star Game late Sunday at the City of Passi Arena in Iloilo. Photo courtesy of PBA

Finally, the Philippine Basketball Association stars will be returning to Bacolod City.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on Monday bared that he had already forged an agreement with Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez about the staging of the All-Star festivity at a newly-constructed next year.

It will be the first time for the PBA to stage the midseason event in the City of Smiles after 16 years.

The last time Bacolod City hosted the All-Star event was in 2008 with South beating North in overtime, 163-158.

This year, the All-Star event was a huge success.

The City of Passi in Iloilo served as host in which Team Japeth beat Team Scottie, 140-136, at the jampacked City of Passi Arena.

Paul Lee shone brightest as he fired 32 points to emerge as Most Valuable Player while Jamie Malonzo, RR Pogoy and Calvin Oftana were also instrumental in warding off the sizzling comeback of Team Scottie in the third period.

Team Scottie even had a chance to tie the game but CJ Perez and Scottie Thompson could not convert their baskets from the special four-point territory.

Team Japeth took home a purse of P150,000 on top of the P150,000 it won in the dance-off.

Meanwhile, Lee, the winner of the Three-Point Contest during the Skills Challenge on Friday, banked P30,000 for his stellar performance.

Malonzo had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Pogoy scored 20 markers and Oftana posted 16.

Chris Newsome, for his part, fell short of notching a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Kevin Alas posted 35 points for Team Scottie, which also drew solid numbers from CJ Perez and Christian Standhardinger.

Perez finished with 26 points and eight rebounds while Standhardinger added 22 points and nine rebounds for the losing squad, which pocked a consolation prize of P75,000 for the game and the dance-off.

Marcial said fans in Bacolod will get to enjoy the same level of action and excitement when they visit it next year.

“We’re glad to return to Bacolod after a long absence,” Marcial said, adding that the deal was finalized in a luncheon meeting last Sunday.

“We want to thank Mayor Albee for accommodating us and we look forward to being with them for this special event.”

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