MANILA, Philippines - The first ever NCAA All-Star Game was staged to achieve two things – to showcase its best talents and generate funds for charity. It succeeded In both.
The East team, San Beda’s Cameroonian reserve Arnaud Noah, St. Benilde’s Fil-Am gunner Travis Jonson and Perpetual Help beauty Jian Salazar starred in the 90-year-old league’s first All-Star weekend before a sizeable crowd at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.
The East Team composed of San Beda, Perpetual Help, Arellano U, San Sebastian and Jose Rizal edged the West squad of Mapua, Lyceum, Emilio Aguinaldo, Letran and St. Benilde, 104-97.
Noah, a 6-3 member of the Lions’ second team who replaced Nigerian behemoth Ola Adeogun at the last minute, bested San Sebastian’s Jaymar Perez to emerge the first NCAA slam dunk champion.
Jonson bested Jose Rizal’s Philip Paniamogan, 21-12, to become the league’s first three-point shootout king.
Arellano U’s John Pinto also shared some of the spotlight after coming out the first NCAA All-Star MVP after finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“He’s really PBA-bound,” said East coach Boyet Fernandez of San Beda referring to Pinto, who is trying his luck in the PBA Rookie draft at the end of the month.
Salazar was crowned Ms. NCAA 2014, besting Mapua’s Katrina Racelis and Lyceum’s Mharyel Tapic.
Salazar also emerged Ms. Photogenic. Letran’s Ma. Carmela Benedicto was Ms. Congeniality and Tapia Ms Bodyfit.
In the end, everybody including losing participants in the Ms. NCAA 2014, slam dunk competition, three-point shootout, the West squad of St. Benilde, Letran, Emilio Aguinaldo, Lyceum and Mapua, some known celebrities including Globalport team owner Mikee Romero and former PBA slam dunk champion Rey Guevarra of Letran all came out as winners as they did it for a cause.
“Everybody came out as winners because at the end of the day, everything we did here is for charity,” said Management Committee chairman Paul Supan of Season 90 host Jose Rizal.
Supan said the fund from this event will go to orphan kids of Hospicio de San Jose, NCAA athletes who represent the country in international meets and NCAA personnel in need of financial assistance.
Some 20 oprhans of Hospicio de San Jose also went home with a smile on their faces as they got to watch the one-day festivities at ringside.