Mark Ababon drained a huge three-pointer over Khiel Misa’s outstretch arms to lead
M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala Cebu to a 75-71 win over host Misamis Oriental and claim the eighth leg crown in the Tournament of the Philippines at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
Ababon’s trey gave Cebu a seven-point lead with eight seconds left in the clock and was also fouled by Misa in the process. He, however, missed the bonus free throw.
Eder Saldua buried his own triple at the other end for the final count.
It was a remarkable comeback for the Raul Alcoseba-coached squad after Wednesday’s fight-marred ballgame which the Niños conceded, 66-44.
Cebu played minus Nat Cruz and Hafer Mondragon, who got involved in a near-scuffle with MisOr players Ronald Lamocha and Kris Lucernas. Lamocha and Lucernas were also meted out the same penalty.
“I asked the players if they want to play in the finals and they said yes. We didn’t have the luxury of having a practice game due to security reasons but I told (them) that they can break our face but not the hearts and pride of a champion," said Alcoseba.
Before the game started MisOr Mayor Oscar Moreno apologized for Wednesday’s incident and even recognized Cebu as the Meteor’s major partner when the Mindanao-Visayas Basketball Association was created.
Ariel Mepana and Stephen Padilla made four each of Cebu’s 11 three-pointers.
Padilla’s back-to-back triples gave the Niños a 54-38 spread late in the third but the Jun Noel-mentored Meteors, egged on by the hometown crowd, fought back and even posted a 64-62 lead with 5:11 to go.
Hobe-Taguig clinched third place after an 81-74 win over Ascof Lagundi.
_________________2009-2010 MVP JAMES "THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOVES" YAP