A TEAM All Stars led by LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and actors Rayver Curz and Vhong Navarro stunned the Team Trabaho squad made up of PBA greats like Kenneth Duremdes, Alvin Patrimonio, Marlou Aquino and Bal David in a hilarious exhibition game on Wednesday night.
The All Stars had the younger legs and quicker pace but found themselves under siege in the second half when four straight three pointers by Duremdes staked Team Trabaho to an 80-68 lead at the end of the third quarter in the well-attended match at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig..
However, a bizarre twist happened in the final 7:58 when All Stars guard and television comedian Jason Abalos snatched the whistle from one of the referees, calling a Flagrant Foul Penalty 5 on Aquino, consequently awarding fellow funnyman Navarro with seven free throws.
Down by six, 84-90, the All Stars suddenly found themselves in the drive's seat as Navarro converted all his seven charities.
“Pinilayan ko daw si Vhong Navarro habang lumelay-up kaya binigyan nila ng pitong freethrows,” said Aquino feigning disappointment. “Sabi ko nga i-replay na lang nila. Ayaw naman.
“Saka may pilay ba na naka shoot pa ng sunod-sunod na free throw,” added the pride of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan in between giggles.
From there, the momentum shifted to the side of the All Stars with 'It's Showtime' host Navarro finishing with 33 points to highlight a 116-105 win.
The performance of the All Stars spoiled the 36-point performance of event organizer and Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) director Joel Villanueva.
A member of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers squad that won the back-to-back UAAP championships in 1995 and 1996, Villanueva hit 10 three-pointers to pace the Team Trabaho side.
“They wanted me to score more. I give credit to them (my teammates). Pero nothing special about it (my score), again the event is more than special to me,” said Villanueva, who is seeking a seat in the Senate in the coming May elections.
Villanueva is close to the PBA legends and also backs the Tigers squad in the UAAP.
“The PBA legends are good friends of mine and we always bring them to different provinces to entertain our kababayans there who are also given training by Tesda,” he said.
“I would love to have another one. But it might be harder kasi pabukas na ang next conference ng PBA and I might be busy na sa campaign, tedious na yung ikot,” he said.
“But I am just so happy that this happened."
Watch highlights of the TESDA reach for the stars exhibition match here: