As what I expected, the taller, the bigger and the faster NBA Smart All-Star Team dominated the PBA Team Selection. And it was their tallest player, the 6'11 JeVale McGee, who dominated in this exhibition game. He led the NBA Team with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks en route to beating the PBA Team via 131-105. McGee was named the best player of the game. The game was held in the new Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The NBA Team used their patented alley-hoop plays, graceful dunks, killer crossovers, and back breaking three point shots in beating the PBA Team. The game was a bit close in the first half. By the end of the first quarter, the score was 30-26. It was a bit manageable on the part of the PBA Team. I saw some flashes of brilliance on the part of the PBA Team especially on Arwind Santos. In the first quarter he had a break away 2-handed dunk which for me was quite more graceful compared to his regular dunks in the PBA. I think he was looking to catch the attention of NBA scouts who were watching the game. For me he was successful in doing that as he led the PBA team in scoring with 25 big points. But I had a feeling that the NBA All Stars were just testing the waters in the first quarter that's why they were giving leeway for those kinds of play for the PBA Team.
When the second quarter started, the NBA players started to assert themselves. They started to penetrate the defense of the PBA Team. Chris Paul started to throw his fancy passes to James Harden, Kobe Bryant and JeVale McGee. We saw some great dunks from the NBA Team in the 2nd quarter. Their defense also tightened up a bit. They started to limit the shots of the PBA players especially their points in the paint. The perimeter shots of Arwind Santos were just the ones that were going in. By the end of the 2nd quarter, the score was 66-50. But, a 16-point lead was still manageable considering that there are 2 more quarters.
In the third quarter, we witnessed a well balanced scoring on the part of the NBA Team. Derrick Williams, Tyreke Evans, Kobe Bryant, JeVale McGee, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and James Harden all spread out their offense. Derrick Williams showed why he's the number 2 NBA draft pick by the Timberwolves. He showed his in between game and his power game to the Filipino fans. He's also a high leaper to say the least. Kobe Bryant on the other hand made a classic fade away jumper in front of James Yap. It was a highly contested shot but still, just like the old times, it went in. Kevin Durant also made some long range killer three pointers from the high arc. I think he made 2 threes, one from the high arc and one from the left plank which was a step back three. Chris Paul on the other hand showed his organized play ground dribbles. He threw a back in between the legs of one of the PBA players. He also threw a bullet pass on the shoes of Gary David. I didn't notice that I was already smiling because I'm huge CP3 fan. I also witnessed a great alley-hoop play that Kobe and Derrick Rose did underneath the basket. Kobe was streaking fast down the lane with the ball and then he threw it up top to Derrick Rose for an emphatic dunk. I heard an "ooo-ooh" sound coming from the crowd. Believe me, that was one of the rarest plays that you'll ever see even in the NBA. The NBA Team took a tight grip on the driver seat in this quarter as they build a commanding 25 point lead, 107-78, against the PBA Team.
In the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher didn't play that much. I think that they were reserving their fire power for their game against Smart Gilas Pilipinas tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.. Kevin Durant also took less shots in this game. He was probably done for the night after notching 20 points in the first half alone. In the second half he only scored 2 points. It was Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Derrick Williams, James Harden, Tyreke Evans and JeVale McGee who kept on pummeling the PBA Team. Their height and athleticism were just too much against the PBA Team. McGee made some great blocks against the PBA slashers. He also made several inhuman dunks that will surely inspire the youth to take their game to the next level. His gem like efforts led to this final score, 131-105, in favor of the NBA All-Stars. Tomorrow, they will face the Smart Gilas Pilipinas Team (Philippine National Team) at 1:00 p.m.. Gilas will play with their PBA reinforcements, Don Don Hontiveros, Ranidel De Ocampo, Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams and Jimmy Alapag. The game will be televised by AKTV IBC 13 on a delayed basis at 5:00 p.m..
Here are the scores:
SMART (NBA) ALL STARS 131 - McGee 25, Durant 22, Williams 19, Evans 17, Harden 16, Bryant 12, Paul 11, Rose 9, Fisher 0.
PBA ALL-STARS 105 - Santos 25, Cabagnot 9, Pingris 9, Al-Hussaini 8, Mercado 8, David 8, Norwood 7, Reyes 6, Thoss 4, Castro 4, Caguioa 4, Seigle 4, Intal 4, Fonacier 3, Tenorio 2, Yap 0.
Quarters: 30-26, 66-50, 107-78, 131-105