PARANAQUE and Marikina played the spoiler’s role as they stunned fancied rivals to forge an unlikely showdown for the inaugural Metro Basketball Tournament Championship.
The Green Berets upset top seed Makati Skycrappers, 79-58, while the Shoelanders edged no.2 seed and host Manila All-Stars, 80-78, in the pair of Division 1 knockout semifinals encounter Wednesday at the San Andres gym in Manila.
No. 4 Paranaque and third seeded Marikina will dispute the title in a winner-take-all affair on Saturday also at the San Andres gym.
Felix John Villarente scored 21 points, while Eduard Albert Zeller had 20 for the Shoelanders, who went on an 11-2 run in the final quarter to break free from a tight 59-all game to take the lead for good, 70-62.
The win avenged the 76-74 loss Marikina suffered at the hands of Manila during the qualification phase of the meet for players 16-and-under and presented by the Metro Manila Sports Fest in coordination with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) under new chairman Danilo Lim and now general manager Tim Orbos, and the Metro Manila Council.
The Green Berets on the other hand, banked on a strong second half surge bannered by Edward Cuevas to frustrate the Skycrappers, who was unbeaten in eight game heading to the semifinals of the meet which has Higer Bus as major sponsor, and backed by Excellent Noodles, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Synergy 88 Digital, World Balance, Regan Industrial Sales, Gadgets In Style, Gerry’s Grill, Cloudfone, Firefly Lighting, Frabelle Foods, Burlington, Higer, Stonini, Star Bread, Cobra Energy Drink, Grips Hari Wax, Alcoplus Alcohol, and Glitter.ph PLDT is the internet provider and Spalding as the official ball.
Cuevas had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Paranaque, which lost to Makati, 77-67, during the classification round.
In Division II of the meet supervised by the tandem of commissioner Pido Jarencio and tournament director Boni Tan, MMDA Black Wolves held off the Taguig Generals, 80-69, to forge a title affair with San Juan.
The Whatta Whatta routed the Navotas BIDA, 102-81, to secure a finals berth.