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North prevails over South in NBTC All-Stars

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—In a showdown highlighted by the beanpole matchup between Kai Sotto and Kamaka Hepa, it was the guards who took over for the North All-Stars.

Encho Serrano and Juan Gomez De Liaño led the charge for the North as the team beat the South, 94-89, in the NBTC Division 1 All-Star Game at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.

The stars of Adamson and UPIS respectively took over for the North as the team withstood a second half push by the South in a game where the 6-foot-11 Sotto and 6-foot-9 Hepa saw limited action.

The North waxed hot early on, opening a 27-12 lead after the first quarter and heading to halftime ahead, 53-36.

But the South went on a 31-19 third quarter to trim the lead to five, 72-67, entering the fourth.

The North escaped with the win as the squad held off the South in the final frame.

Serrano had 17 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block in only 18 minutes and 10 seconds of play off the bench, enough to be named the All-Star Game MVP.

Gomez De Liaño contributed 16 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Sotto only played for a little less than eight minutes and chipped in five rebounds and three blocks.

Sherwin Concepcion made up for Hepa's early foul trouble and led the South with 19 points, six rebounds, and one block off the bench.

Hepa would still come close to a double-double after making nine markers and nine boards with one assist and one block in 19 minutes and 20 seconds of play.

On the other hand, Team Superstar pummeled Team Elite, 106-75, in the Division 2 All-Star Game.

Kevin Barranco led Team Superstar with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno
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