PJ Simon of the Magnolia Hotshots dethroned his longtime teammate and friend James Yap in the PBA All-Star 3-point shootout.
The 38-year-old sweet-shooting Simon succeeded defending champion Yap after posting a 20-point performance in the elimination and a 17-point finish in the finals to win the shootout on his first ever try.
Yap, who is now with Rain or Shine and among the favorites to win the shootout, did not make it to the finals after bowing early in the competition with only 12 points in the elimination.
He was, however, among the first players to approach Simon when he was declared as the winner.
As Simon stepped into the center court to receive his plaque, Yap caught up with him, gave him a gentle tap on the back to congratulate his good friend.
They were teammates since 2004 until Yap was traded to Rain or Shine in 2016.
Simon, an 18-year PBA veteran, was tied with Philip Paniamogan of NLEX with 20 points heading to the finals while Rookie Robert Bolick registered 19 points.
In the final shootout, Bolick was only a point behind Simon while Paniamogan shot 14 points.
After winning the shootout, Simon took his thoughts to his Instagram account; saying it was so surreal to win the award.
“I was already grateful for being chosen to compete in this category, and to win it is just icing on the cake. Thank you, Lord, for the unexpected blessings you always give. It’s truly humbling,” Simon posted.
Simon bested 11 other contenders in the shootout contest held in Calasiao, Pangasinan Friday as part of the annual PBA All-Star weekend.