“You can never underestimate the heart of a champion!” quipped Yayoy Alcoseba, the multi-titled coach of the M.Lhullier Kwarta Padala- Cebu Niños. Cebu indeed showed last night why they are one of the most dominant basketball teams outside the Philippine Basketball Association by beating the tough Misamis Oriental Meteors 78-76 to clinch the first ever Tournament of the Philippines Championships.
It was another close game by the 2 teams who trace their rivalry way back in their Liga Pilipinas days. Cebu started really strong but allowed MisOr to rally by giving up 4 unsportsmanlike fouls. In the closing minutes, Cebu led 75-70 before Patrick Cabahug hit 2 treys to close the gap to 76-77. Froilan Baguion completed the scoring by splitting his free throws. The Meteors still had a chance but they bungled 2 point-blank attempts. Cebu Coliseum erupted to celebrate another basketball title for Cebu.
The Niños were led by Ariel Mepaña with 15 points with first TOP MVP Stephen Padilla contributing another 12 points.
caloycomment: Hopefully their will be more TOPs because I believe that this league is a solid ground for developing new basketball talents especially those who come from lesser known schools. I expect many TOP veterans to strut their wares in the pros soon. Players like Patrick Cabahug, Reed Juntilla, Neil Raneses, Stephen Padilla and Ariel Mepana would deserve a look from the pro scouts.
Cebu writes history anew (freeman)
Ninos take Game 5 (sunstar)