THE Stalwarts defeated the Greats, 99-94, in the Blitz game that capped the opening day of the PBA All-Star Weekend on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Stalwarts shrugged off an early deficit as they turned serious down the stretch in an exhibition featuring a mix of league legends, rising stars in the PBA and current standouts from the D-League.
Raymond Almazan threw down a handful of dunks that counted as three points to finish with 23 points and 10 boards and be named Best Player of the game, while Chris Banchero scored the key baskets down the stretch.
The Stalwarts fed Manny Pacquiao early as the Mahindra playing-coach finished a point shy of reaching double-digit scoring.
“Na-enjoy ko naman nung last four minutes kasi sinabihan ako ni coach Ronnie (Magsanoc) na ayusin ko daw eh; Bumaba daw ako," Almazan said. "Kasi sa akin, have fun lang naman eh for the fans, na mag-enjoy sila."
Mike Tolomia chipped in 14 points, while Nic Belasco knocked down numerous three-pointers to add 11 points.
Ian Sangalang led the Greats with 14 points, while Jonathan Grey added 13 points that went for naught.