The top seeded Misamis Oriental Meteors gave local fans something to remember in their final home game at the Xavier University gym with a thrilling 73-71 win over defending national champion M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños, giving the Meteors a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five 2009 Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference II National Finals.

The Meteors’ Mark Yee made his only field goal in the game, a crucial triple at the 2:11 mark of the fourth period that matched the Meteors’ biggest lead of the game, 70-63. Earlier, Ramil Tagupa nailed back-to-back treys of his own to erect the first seven-point Meteors lead, 65-58 with 3:36 remaining.

But Cebu’s Mark Ababon countered with a triple of his own to close in at  66-70 with 2 minutes left. After a bungled possession by the Meteors, the Niños failed to execute their play leading to a hurried triple attempt by Ababon that went nowhere.

Yee then sank two more free throws for a 72-66 lead. Woodraw Enriquez scooted down the floor but decided to go for the easy lay-up. Jeff Bombeo then secured the win with a free throw split at the seven-second mark.

Enriquez settled the final tally with a triple at the buzzer.

Yee led the Meteors with 15 points with 12 coming from the free throw line, to go with his five rebounds. Tagupa backed him up with 10 points. Ababon top-scored for the Niños with 18 points followed by Marlon Basco with 13.

How they scored:

Misamis Oriental 73–Yee 15, Tagupa 10, Kong 9, Bombeo 9, Micutuan 9, Daja 7, Mente 6, Moreno 6, Butel 2, Gudez 0.

Cebu Niños 71–Ababon 18, Basco 13, Tangkay 10, Enriquez 9, Dacia 9, Berame 4, Santos 4, Mepana 2, Dizon 2, Cavan 0, Padilla 0, Aying 0.

Period scores: 18-16, 34-36, 55-50, 73-71.

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