Clay Crellin, Bright Akhuetie, Jerwin Gaco help FEU-NRMF beat Air Force to reach MBL finals
Jerwin Gaco and the FEU-NRMF squad march on to the finals. Jaime Campos

FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill hammered out a vengeful 95-69 win over Philippine Air Force to clinch the first finals berth in the 2016 MBL Open basketball  tournament at the EAC Sports Center in Manila.

Fil-Canadian Clay Crellin scored 18 points, with 14 coming in the first half when FEU-NRMF took a 56-32 lead.

The 6-foot-4 Crellin leads the MVP race after averaging over 21 points a game during the elimination round.

African imports Moustapha Arafat and Bright Akhuetie provided the muscle on defense as FEU-NRMF avenged a heartbreaking 82-84 setback to Air Force in the elimination round.

Arafat, a 6-foot-6 Cameroonian center, added 16 points.

Akhuetie, the 6-foot-8 Nigerian who has been linked to transfer news after quitting the Perpetual Help squad in the NCAA, had 11 points for FEU-NRMF.

Former Lyceum mainstay Dexter Zamora scored, while former PBA player Jerwin Gaco added seven points for the FEU-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation squad.

Jerry Lumongsod and Raniel Jake Diwa led the Jet Force with 13 and 12 points, respectively. 

Rama Krishna Morales, one of three Air Force players in the league’s top 10 leading scorers, was held to only eight markers.

FEU-NRMF will next meet elimination-round topnotcher Emilio Aguinaldo College, which won by forfeiture over Macway Travel Club in the tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Star Bread,  Dickies Underwear and Gerry’s Grill.
The scores:

FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill (95) - Crellin 18, Arafat 16, Zamora 13,  Akhuetie 11,  Camacho 8, Manalo 8, Gaco 7, Tamsi 6,  Rodriguez 4,  Raymundo 4, Tan 0.

Air Force (69) - Lumongsod 13, Diwa 12, Morales 8, Cordero 7,  Rebollos 6, Tano 6,  Cuasay 5,Valdevilla 4,  Almerol 4, Ollano 2, Dizon 2,  Malig-on 0, Regalado 0.

Quarterscores: 24-18; 56-32; 80-48, 95-69.

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