DEFENDING champion FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill threw the full weight of its veteran-laden lineup on Diliman College-JPA Freight Logistics, 79-68, and clinched the top seed in the 2017 MBL Open basketball championship at the FEU gym in Fairview.
Last year’s runaway MVP awardee Clay Crellin scattered a team-high 21 points in limited minutes as the Tamaraws buried the Dragons with inspired performance on both ends of the floor.
Aries Gumabay, Japs Bautista, Erwin Sta. Maria, Christian Manalo and ex-PBA star Jerwin Gaco also played well for the Tamaraws.
Overall, FEU finished in a three-way tie for the top spot with Philippine Christian University and Colegio de San Lorenzo-V Hotel with 6-1 win-loss records in the eight-team tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Star Bread, Dickies Underwear, Ironcon Builders and Gerry's Grill.
The Tamaraws finished first, followed by the Dolphins in second and the Griffins in third after the FIBA tiebreak.
FEU and PCU now hold twice-to-beat advantages in the semis. CdSL, which swept its first six games, dropped to third place.
“I hope the boys will keep their focus and continue to play well.The next two games - semis and final - will be challenging,” said FEU-NRMF coach Pido Jarencio.
Arvin Angeles finished with 26 points for Diliman-JPS, which played minus top African import Alex Diakhite and local gunners Kris Torrado and Rickson Gerero.
FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill (79) --Crellin 21, Gumabay 14, Bautista 11, Sta. Maria 9, Manalo 9, Gaco 4, Santiago 3, Abdul 2, Raymundo 2, Zamora 2, Diwa 2, J. Santos 0, Tan 0.
Diliman-JPA (68) --Angeles 26, Diaz 12, Cuerquez 8, Mbiya 4, Brutas 4, Salazar 4, Ongulo 3, Corpuz 3, Bauzon 2, Mondala 2, Antalan 0, Lim 0.
Quarterscores: 24-7, 43-26, 65-48, 79-68