The top-seeded Misamis Oriental Meteors scored an emphatic 64-52 victory over the ML Kwarta Padala Cebu Niños last night at the New Cebu City Coliseum at the 2009 Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference II Finals Series Game 5 and snatched their first ever Liga Pilipinas Championship Title.
The wards of Gov. Oscar Moreno and Coach Agripino “Jun” Noel became just the first team to beat the Niños twice in their home turf. They earlier beat Cebu, 69-68 during the touring phase.
The Meteors, behind Mark Yee, Philip Butel, Lyndon Gudez and Ramil Tagupa, outscored the hosts, 24-4, in the pivotal third, turning a close 29-27 lead at the turn to a 53-31 bulge.
The top seeded squad never looked back from there as it pounced on the erratic Cebu side to complete the rousing victory.
“This is a greatest feeling of all, knowing you worked hard for it and played your best in the game that mattered the most. I am so proud of the team. This is for our fans in MisOr,” said MisOr coach Jun Noel.
The defending champion Niños actually surged ahead at 30-29 as Stephen Padilla hit a triple at the onset of the third. But it proved to be Cebu’s last taste of the lead as the Meteors ran roughshod over their rivals, who had 17 errors at the end of the third and finished the game with 21.
“My hats off to them. They executed their plays extremely well and showed so much poise. The way they played, it didn’t matter where the game was held,” Alcoseba said.
Yee finished with 12 points, including 10 in the third period, and hauled down 12 rebounds.
Mente scored all his 11 points in the first half. Mark Ababon fired nine of his team-best 13 points to pace the Ninos while Marlon Basco finished with a double-double game of 11 points and 14 rebounds.
For averaging 14.6 points in the series, Yee was named the Finals MVP. He also won the Conference MVP honors.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice-chairman Ricky Vargas and Smart Sports’ Patrick Gregorio awarded the trophies to all the winners.
The event was sponsored by Smart and backed by ML Kwarta Padala, Accel, Air 21, Burlington, Pagcor Sports, Nature’s Spring Water, Laptop Phoneshop Exchange and Molten and sanctioned by the SBP.
During the Championship Series, MisOr won Game 1, 70-64 but Cebu leveled it with a tough 58-55 win in Game 2 taking away MisOr’s homecourt advantage in the series. The Meteors then took a 2-1 lead with a 73-71 victory in the final game at XU Gym in Cagayan de Oro City. The Niños of long-time Coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba then leaned on veteran Stephen Padilla to force a deciding 5th game with a close 62-58 win in Game 4 in Cebu City.
With the success of Conference II already in the history books, Liga Pilipinas Conference III will commence in the third quarter of this year.
MISAMIS ORIENTAL (64) – Yee 12, Mente 11, Tagupa 9, Kong 8, Gudez 8, Butel 6, Micutuan 5, Moreño 2, Daja 2, Bombeo 0.
CEBU (52) – Ababon 13, Basco 11, Dacia 8, Padilla 6, Santos 6, Mepana 4, Enriquez 2, Aying 2, Tangkay 0, Cavan 0.
Period Scores: 17-14, 29-27, 55-38, 64-52.