CALASIAO -- As Japeth Aguilar drove to the basket, June Mar Fajardo turned his back on him. Both knew what was about to go down next.
Aguilar soared over the 6-foot-10 San Miguel Beer slotman for an emphatic throw down that sent the crowd at the Calasiao Sports Complex here in a frenzy.
That was only one of a flurry of highlight plays, most of which were slam dunks, made by the Ginebra forward. In a game that gathered the biggest PBA stars, Aguilar shined the brightest.
The lanky forward provided the entertainment expected in an All-Star game and led the North All-Stars to a 185-170 win over the South to culminate the 30th All-Star festivities on Sunday. It was the highest-scoring All-Star Game in league history.
Aguilar and Arwind Santos were named co-MVPs. Santos had an explosive outing with 34 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists, while Aguilar finished with 32 points and eight rebounds.
PJ Simon, who won the 3-point shooting contest a few days ago, led the South All-Stars with 34 points. Fajardo chipped in 26 points and 13 rebounds.
"I was just trying to maximize this opportunity. I only have a few more years left in my career so I gave it my all," Aguilar said in Filipino after the match.
Indeed, he went all-in from the start, scoring on back-to-back alley-oop dunks to set the tone for the North side.
Paul Lee hit a record nine triples for the North All-Stars, who were quick to restore order after the South made a run to within two. Troy Rosario retaliated with a pair of triple of his own and the North was never again in danger of losing the lead.
It was all fun and games in the final period. At one point, Fajardo carried PBA legend Benjie Paras, who slammed it home for the first time in years.
After being posterized by Aguilar, Fajardo teamed up with his opponent by lobbing him a rim-rattling slam.
"I want to thank June Mar for assisting me," said Aguilar. "We talked about that during halftime. I'm happy he was game enough to team up with me in those plays."
The North rejoiced as the team received a total of P200,000 after also winning the pre-game dance-off.
But if there are people who are happier after this victory, it's the beneficiaries of the Alagang PBA. Double V Productions committed a wheelchair for every 3-point basket and dunk made.
Overall, 126 wheelchairs will be donated to the program.
North 185 - Santos 34, Aguilar 32, Lee 27, Cabagnot 18, Lassiter 12, Tenorio 11, Abueva 11, Rosario 10, Pringle 9, Banchero 7, Norwood 5, Paras 4, Perkins 3, Magsanoc 2, Castro 0, Caguioa 0.
South 170 - Simon 34, Fajardo 26, Romeo 19, Barroca 18, Jalalon 15, Erram 14, Pogoy 12, Ross 10, Slaughter 8, Belo 6, Patrimonio 4, Amer 2, Yap 2, Thompson 0, Codinera 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 51-25, 89-75, 137-122, 185-170
-Asi Taulava, 46, registered a league-record 17 All-Star appearances. James Yap comes in second with 16.
-The North scored 89 points in the first half. It's the second all-time most for a half since 1989. In 2012, the Veterans dropped 95 in the first two quarters against the RSJ.
-LA Tenorio and Jio Jalalon registered a triple-double each. Tenorio had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists, while Jalalon finished with 15, 11, and 12.