THE North team survived a resilient South side, 154-151, to reassert its mastery of their opponent in the PBA All-Star game on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The North All-Stars built an early lead while putting on a show for the fans before weathering a late comeback by the South team to win the annual showcase for the fourth straight time - and eighth of 12 editions overall.
While his teammates tried to be creative, Alex Cabagnot kept it simple as he scored a team-high 29 points to be named MVP in his fourth All-Star game appearance, but only his first in three years.
The San Miguel Beer playmaker beat out Troy Rosario who also stood out for the North side, who bucked the absence of Calvin Abueva due to illness.
The North All-Stars saw their saw a 16-point lead disappear as their Southern counterparts made a late run that just fell short as the North, which pocketed a P150,000 prize, heaved a sigh of relief after Jeff Chan missed a desperation three-pointer that could’ve sent the game into overtime.
Terrence Romeo added 25 points as he dazzled in isolation plays, while Japeth Aguilar and Rosario flaunted their athleticism that awed the crowd as they added 21 points apiece.
Veteran big men Marc Pingris and Ranidel de Ocampo were the other double-digit scorers with 16 and 13, respectively, for the North side that had all their 11 players register in the scoring column.
June Mar Fajardo led the South with 25 points, including 12 in the payoff period to lead the comeback.