Host Misamis Oriental Meteors and archrival M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños scored easy wins Thursday to arrange a championship duel for the Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference III Misamis Oriental Leg at the Arturo S. Lugod Memorial Sports and Cultural Center here.
The Meteors of Gov. Oscar S. Moreno and coach Jun Noel disposed of Cebu Landmaster-Mandaue, 77-55, while the Niños of Michel J. Lhuillier and Coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba toyed with the MP Warriors of GenSan, 90-69, for similar 2-0 records.
The games will now shift to Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City for a preview of the Saturday’s Championship games.
The one-game leg championship will start at 6 p.m., a reprise of last conference’s National Finals won by the Meteors in five games, 3-2.
In the first game at 4 p.m. the Mandaue Landmasters battle the GenSan Warriors for third place.
The Meteors stormed to a 24-10 advantage after the first period and never looked back. Landmaster of Joe Soberano and Coach Jun Tan sorely missed team leader Jercules Tangkay, who sat out the game after scattering 19 points the other day against the Ninos.
Eder Saldua sizzled with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Meteors. Philip Butel and Patrick Cabahug backed him up with 13 points apiece. Alex Cainglet bounced back from a scoreless first game to pump in 14 markers in the losing effort, followed by Joel Solis with 12 points and nine rebounds.
It was a similar storyline in the first game wherein the Ninos sprinted ahead in the opening 10 minutes, 22-6. Playing with only 10 men, the Ninos never allowed the Warriors of Manny Pacquiao and Coach Ramon Pido to tie or even take the upper hand.
Stephen Padilla exploded for five triples en route to 17 points. Mark Ababon and Ian Saladaga added 11 points as six other Ninos submitted six points or more to underscore their balanced attack. Bob Cozy Ilanga paced the Warriors with 15 points after going scoreless in their last outing. Dondon Mendoza chipped in 11 points and five rebounds..
Friday’s results will not affect Saturday’s pairings. All that is left to be decided was who would get the two-point bonus for a three-game sweep as the two undefeated teams engaged each other last night. The Warriors and Landmaster were also looking for their first win this week in the conference made possible by Smart, Accel, Molten, Calcium-Cee, Gatorade, Air 21 and Burlington and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
How They Scored:
CEBU (90) – Padilla 17, Saladaga 11, Ababon 11, Mepana 10, Basco 9, Nailon 8, Malinao 8, Dacia 8, Enriquez 6, Santos 2.
GENERAL SANTOS (69) – Ilanga 15, Mendoza 11, Tadena 10, Gonzaga 6, Cabatu 6, Recustodio 5, Locsin 5, Sagad 4, Farochillen 3, Rubi 2, Callo 2, Concha 0, Medalla 0, Coronado 0.
Period Scores: 22-6, 41-22, 66-41, 90-69.
MISAMIS ORIENTAL (77) – Saldua 23, Cabahug 13, Butel 13, Daja 6, Moreño 5, Pupos 5, Gudez 3, Barcellano 3, Kong 2, Sanchez 2, Guiyab 2, Clavel 0, Mamaclay 0, Tagupa 0.
MANDAUE (55) – Cainglet 14, Solis 12, Cenita 10, Mercado 5, Aying 5, Latonio 4, Alcaraz 2, Bucao 2, Llanto 1, Berame 0, Gabas 0.
Period Scores: 24-10, 39-28, 56-41, 77-55.