Prince Eze carried the Saints past the Heroes, 84-80, in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 All-Star Game on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Eze, who was named All-Star Most Valuable Player, came through with 17 points, including two clutch free throws in the end to seal the win.
The 6-foot-9 Nigerian also hauled down 14 rebounds and swatted away three shots for the Saints, composed of University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, San Beda College, San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Colegio de San Juan de Letran and College of St. Benilde.
Gab Dagangon chipped in 14 points while Rey Nambatac scored 12 markers for the Boyet Fernandez-mentored Saints.
“At least all the players had fun. I tried to give them all playing time. I salute all of them,” said Fernandez, who is also San Beda’s tactician.
CJ Perez finished with 15 points while Jerome Garcia added nine markers for the Heroes, consisted of Lyceum of the Philippines University, Jose Rizal University, Arellano University, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Mapua University.
The Saints enjoyed a 43-33 lead but the Heroes initiated an 8-0 run to cut the deficit down to just four at halftime, 41-45.
Trailing behind by one point, 79-80, Robert Bolick sank a go-ahead triple and Eze drained the crucial charities with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Meanwhile, new winners emerged in the side events of the All-Star Day.
Mapua U’s JP Nieles outclassed St. Benilde rookie Unique Naboa to make sure the Skills Challenge trophy stay in the Cardinals’ hands.
Perpetual Help, bannered by junior cager Jielo Razon, GJ Ylagan and alumnus Gerald Dizon, topped the Shooting Stars competition after beating Arellano U’s Kobe Camacho, Zach Nicholls and Donald Gumaru.
Almel Orquina seized another award for Mapua with the sophomore guard outgunning Perpetual’s Jack Hao in the Three-point Shootout.
Lervin Flores came out as the new Slam Dunk king after gaining a perfect score as the high-leaping center from Arellano jumped over three people, including one of the judges – actor Empoy Marquez.
Former Gilas Pilipinas star playmaker Jimmy Alapag and national team standout Bobby Ray Parks also graced the contest as judges.