CALASIAO, Pangasinan -- Aside from the cash prize and the bragging rights for the winner, the stake in the clash between the Rookies-Sophomores selection and Juniors team in the 2019 PBA All-Star weekend on Friday turned to be a little special for both squad.
This, after a sponsor of the event announced that in every 3-point shot and slam dunk made in the game, Double V Production will donate a wheelchair for the Alagang PBA Foundation.
After 40 minutes of action where the newcomers prevailed over the Gilas cadets-led Juniors, 141-140, both squads were able to raise 34 wheelchairs, off the 24 3-pointers and 10 dunks recorded in the match.
Leading the donation was the eventual MVP of the game, CJ Perez, who had 6 treys and a pair of dunks, which equaled to 8 wheelchair donations.
“Isa pa 'yun sa nasa isip ko. Lahat ng tira ko, 'yung mga dunks ko, siyempre para doon sa wheelchair na maibibigay sa PBA,” Perez explained. He finished the action with a game-high 32 points.
The hero of the Rookies-Sophomores, Mocon, was also delighted for the donations and the victory. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painter rookie nailed a last-second putback to help the young cagers escape their opponents.
“Masaya. First time, first win, so masaya,” Mocon said.
“At the same time, nagsasama-sama kami mga rookies, sophomores, juniors, at the same hotel, same team, nakatulong din kami dun nga sa wheelchairs na ibibigay, so sobrang grateful kami and thankful sa PBA talaga [for this chance].”
Meanwhile, Perez admitted he got a little more inspired playing in front of his fellow Pangasinense. The top recruit of Columbian grew up in Bautista, Pangasinan.
“Na-inspire lang ako maglaro kasi nga nandito ako sa hometown ko. Gusto ko ipakita doon sa mga ano ko, ma-inspire ko sila,” Perez revealed.
Perez’s Friday schedule was heavier compared to other players at the Calasiao Sports Complex as he also suited up for the Slam Dunk contest where he settled for third behind the defending champion Rey Guevarra and Renz Palma.
Just more than an hour after, Perez was seen again in the hard court as he played for the Rookies-Sophomores.
“First time ko tapos sinali ako sa Slam Dunk. Hindi man ako nanalo, it's an honor na makasali sa Slam Dunk sa PBA kasi minsan-minsan lang mangyari ‘yun. Tapos nanalo kami dito, talagang it's an honor na mabibigay namin sa sarili namin at sa history rin ng PBA,” Perez narrated.
Mocon, on the other hand, downplayed the botched free throws of Jason Perkins in the final 3 seconds of the payoff period. Perkins was fouled by Jio Jalalon after a ball scramble and was given 3 free throws.
Down by a point, Perkins, unfortunately, missed all the charities. Perez got the rebound and attempted to score but the ball bounced to Mocon’s hand where he converted a buzzer-beating putback.
“Si Perkins siguro kinabahan. He missed 3 free throws. Credit to CJ Perez, he got the rebound. Nandoon lang ako, tinip ko lang, ‘di ko na alam mangyayari. Ayun, na-shoot naman,” Mocon said.
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