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Mar 9, 2015
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Yesterday, the PBA wrapped up the 2015 edition of their annual All-Star Weekend the only way they know how: treat fans to a high-octane, high-scoring North vs. South All-Star face-off that looked more like a shootaround than a serious basketball game.

Despite the game being an example of how NOT to play defense, it still served as a fantastic main event for the ball-tastic festivities (congrats to the North crew, which starred the likes of Japeth Aguilar, Paul Lee, and Marc Pingris for winning the game, 166-161!). Dunks? Check! Alley-oops? Check! Dribbling exhibitions? Terrence Romeo and co. says "Check na check!"

However, the North vs. South All-Star game wasn't the only thing that made us tune in and postpone some of our plans over the weekend. The three-day affair served a host of highlights, and we picked the best ones below!

For those who missed it (what were you thinking?), this is our recap for you; for those who witnessed it live or through the boob-tube, think of this as a way to relive the excitement!


JERIC FORTUNA WINNING OVER THE FAVORITES

The All-Star Weekend opened with the Skills Challenge, which featured the quickest guards in the league. Four-time winner Jonas Villanueva of the NLEX Road Warriors and defending champion Mark Barroca of the Purfefoods Star Hotshots were among those who joined the event, but it was a lesser-known sophomore who rose above the rest.

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

San Miguel Beer backup guard Jeric Fortuna wasn't the fastest guard after the elimination round of the contest, but was fast enough to qualify for the finals. In the final round, Villanueva and Alaska Aces rookie Chris Banchero struggled, and Fortuna took advantage. The former Growling Tiger left Villanueva (37.7 seconds) and Banchero (42 seconds) in the dust with an impressive 32.1-second run. Coach Leo Autria, nagpapasikat, oh!


ROMEO OUTGUNNING THE LEAGUE'S BEST SNIPERS

There's a new three-point king in town, and he's also just in his second year in the league. Terrence Romeo of Globalport Batang Pier edged the likes of four-time champ Mark Macapagal (Meralco), former champ Chris Tiu (Rain or Shine), and the legendary Jimmy Alapag (Talk N' Text) to win the Three-Point Contest.

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

The former King Tamarraw did what he does best: put the ball through the hoop. He scored 18 points in the finals (James Yap came in second with 14) to win. So that's what happens when nobody's asking him to pass the ball!

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THAT FAILED MELTON DUNK

The world watched as Purefoods Star Hotshots' Justin Melton made international news with his ridiculous blindfolded dunk. Last year's co-champion was part of this year's All-Star Dunk-Off which also saw the return of five-time winner KG Canaleta.

Melton didn't advance to the final round, but he clearly had fun with the contest, even enlisting the help of teammate Joe Devance to add a dash of hilarity to his final dunk of the night. Melton failed to make his first two tries, and before his time ran out, he called JDV to put aget thisfriggin' blindfold on him


Video via Inquirer Page

He gathered himself, ran, elevated with his God-given hops...and missed terribly. The epic failure quickly went viral, as expected. While the high-flying guard meant for the dunk to be a joke (obviously), we won't be surprised if those who don't know him thought he was just a wannabe dunker. Of course, if they got to watch the Rookie-Sophomore All-Star game, they'd know that they were very, very wrong.


JAPETH DOES A DWIGHT

Big men really aren't that much fun to watch during dunk contests. Since they're already big, they don't need much lift to reach the rim (think of you dunking on a seven-foot rim). However, the NBA's Dwight Howard is a 6'11" exception. Remember his Sticker Dunk? Let us refresh your memory:


Video via Balanayj

It was a dunk that probably only those gifted with height and elite jumping power can pull off, like Japeth Aguilar. The high-flying 6'9" Ginebra forward paid tribute to Howard's dunk by reaching high up and sticking a Ginebra sticker on the backboard while he dunked with his right hand, showing everyone that his dunking skill is, literally, way up there.

See it for yourself:


Video via Nobad Mancave Videos

Close enough!


PAPA REY IS STILL THE SLAM DUNK KING


Video via Nobad Mancave Videos

The judges kept throwing 50s at Rey Guevarra and Justin Melton last year and made them co-champions. This year, Papa Rey kept the title all to himself by beating Aguilar in the final round. And when Papa Rey is in the contest, you know he's pulling out a nasty version of the iconic between-the-legs dunk.


KJ MOMENT BLOCK


Video via Pinoy Basketbolista

In a game that was more about the highlights than the Xs and Os, rookie forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser of Talk N' Text reminded Rain or Shine's Raymond Almazan that he still plays defense during the Rookies-Sophomores match. Before the third quarter ended, the sophomores were trying to close the gap with what looked like an easy fastbreak dunk for Almazan. As he went up though, MGR appeared out of nowhere to swat the ball away in a block worthy of a spot in SportsCenter. You may call him a big, fat KJ due to the nature of the game but, admit it, your jaw dropped to the floor, too, after seeing the denial.

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MINIONS DUNK!

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

With the Rookies-Sophomores game already in the bag in favor of the freshmen, the guards decided to take flight and punish the rim...with a little help from their teammates. Guards Romeo, Kevin Alas, RR Garcia, and Fortuna all got a boost from Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Raymond Almazan as they soared high for their dunks to turn the blowout into a dunking frenzy.


WE GOT YOUR BACK, BOY!

Rain Or Shine big man Beau Belga joined the commentary table during the latter stages of the Rookies-Sophomores game while guard Paul Lee worked the sidelines. Their shift was right on time, as their boy Almazan fell victim to that vicious MGR block.

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

Belga was confident in saying "Babawi yung bata ko!" through his whole commentary while Paul Lee was all "Why you do that to my teammate? You don't do that, it's the All-Star game!" on Ganuelas-Rosser during his courtside interview. Almazan came through for his seniors, as he went on to score on several dunks in the fourth quarter. Way to make your big bros proud!


JOE DEVANCE TROLLS AROUND

pba all-star games

Willie Miller was known as a prankster during his heyday in the All-Star Weekend. While we missed him during this year's festivities, Devance made up for his absence by video-bombing at every opportunity he can get. Even Chris Bosh would be proud.


THE ALL-STAR DANCE-OFF

pba all-star gamesScreencap via Rappler.com

Before the main event that was the North vs. South match, the North All-Stars did a choreographed routine highlighted by their rendition of "Katawan"—dancing while showing their, well, bodies. Just when we thought there's no way the South could top it, Joe "DeDance" punctuated the South All-Star's performance with an upside-down shimmy/twerk that got even the North All-Stars LOL-ing hard. You know what would've made things even more awesome? A live sing-off between Arwind "Bagyo" Santos and Paul "Angas ng Tondo" Lee! #MakeItHappenNextYear


A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR RAMIL CRUZ

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

It wasn't all fun and games all weekend, though. PBA Technical Director Ramil Cruz joined our maker on Sunday morning during his sleep. Though he was never in the limelight, players, coaches, and the PBA staff know how great he was at his job. As a sign of respect, the PBA offered a moment of silence for the silent hero, and even the North All-Stars dedicated their dance to him. We dedicate this spot to him as well.

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#SALAMATJIMMY

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

Alapag's retirement ceremony was held during halftime of the North vs. South game. The emotional tribute to the "Mighty Mouse" featured words from the chief of the only team he's played for in the PBA, Talk N' Text big boss Manny Pangilinan, his former head coach in Gilas and TNT Chot Reyes, his former running mate, Asi Taulava, and his wife, LJ Reyes-Alapag. He took part in his last All-Star Game and while he didn't win MVP honors, he did put in a memorable performance with 12 points and an All-Star record 17 assists. We'll miss you, Jimmy!


THE FIERCE NORTH VS. SOUTH GAME

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

The kids had their fun on Friday, and the big boys were not to be outdone. What looked like another blowout turned into a tightly-contested match as the North All-Stars clawed their way back from 17 points down to steal the game from the South All-Stars. Though they played with the same rules as a regular PBA game (read: no three-point dunks or 18-second shot clocks), both teams didn't have trouble scoring as the game ended at 166-161.


REMEMBER THE NAME: ROMEO

pba all-star gamesImage via Spin.ph

We knew him as the flashy point guard from FEU who joined a league already full of talented small players. In just his second year, though, Terrence Romeo has proven he belongs in the PBA. He won the Three-Point Contest, and poured in 48 points in the Rookie-Sophomore game, before capping off his first All-Star appearance by winning the All-Star Game MVP plum. He led the North All-Star's uprising and finished with 30 big points. While we bid farewell to one of the best point guards of the country, we saw the rise of a possible successor in the young man nicknamed "Bromeo."

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