M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu came through with a solid second-quarter performance to beat Treston Laguna, 101-84, in Game 1 of their semifinal series in the Tournament of the Philippines Tuesday at the Cebu Coliseum last night.
The Niños led by only seven points at the end of the first quarter but produced several spurts in the second frame that set the tone of runaway win in the opener of their best-of-three semis series.
Cebu can clinch the first finals berth in the tournament jointly organized by the Philippine Basketball League and Liga Pilipinas with another win on Wednesday.
But if Laguna wins Game 2, the rubber match will be held in Manila.
The Niños took a 51-38 halftime lead, but the Stallions, through the efforts of Robert Sanz and Ricky Ricafuente, trimmed the deficit to 55-65.
But it proved to be Leguna’s last stand as the Niños came through with another run to post their biggest lead of 91-71.
The win enabled Cebu to keep its mastery of Laguna dating back to the Third Conference of the Liga Pilipinas last year.
Ariel Mepaña led the balanced attack of Cebu with 16 points. Also posting decent numbers for Cebu were Stephen Padilla (14) and Richard Ian Saladaga (13).