CALASIAO, Pangasinan -- Ed Daquioag was going for the basket in transition late in the third period. As he soared for the breakaway layup, Abu Tratter came out of nowhere and swatted away the shot. That was just one of the electrifying moments in a game where the Rookies-Sophomores and the Juniors teams showed they were taking Friday's game seriously.
From there until the final buzzer, players were beaming but refusing to give an inch even in a game with nothing but pride at stake.
In the end, the Rookies-Sophomores walked away with the 141-140 victory capped by a dazzling final sequence.
Javee Mocon nailed the game-winning putback off CJ Perez's missed turnaround jumper as time expired.
Before that sequence, Jason Perkins had the chance to take the match but muffed all three free throws with 3.3 ticks remaining.
Perez won the MVP plum after finishing with 32 points, with 18 coming in the fourth period.
Jeron Teng and Mocon had 19 and 18 points, respectively, and combined for 11 rebounds.
"I was inspired to go all out since it's my first All-Star game," said Perez, who also received P20,000.
Rashawn McCarthy paced the Juniors with 24 points, while RR Pogoy added 20 markers.
The exhibition match was also a game for a cause. Before the match, Double V Productions, the promoter of this year's All-Star weekend, announced it will donate a wheelchair for every 3-pointer and dunk made in the game. 44 wheelchairs will be donated to the Alagang PBA.
Rookies-Sophomores (141) - Perez 32, Teng 19, Mocon 18, Herndon 16, Desiderio 11, Perkins 9, Bolick 9, Tallo 7, Nambatac 7, Jackson 6, Tratter 4, Jose 3.
Juniors (140) - McCarthy 24, Pogoy 20, Tolomia 15, Jalalon 14, Daquioag 13, Escoto 13, Belo 12, Wright 12, Ferrer 6, Banal 5, Pessumal 4, Cruz 2.
Quarterscores: 40-29, 73-76, 106-112, 141-140.
Save for Rashawn McCarthy and Ael Banal, the rest of the Juniors team were members of the Gilas Cadets program.
Jason Perkins, Jeron Teng, and Robert Bolick found themselves playing alongside each other again. The three were former La Salle teammates. Bolick transferred to San Beda and won a pair of championships with the Red Lions.