Defending National Champion Misamis Oriental Meteors maintained their dominance over the host Trace-Laguna Stallions, 80-70, to begin hostilities in the Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference III Laguna Leg Wednesday night at the Stallions’ Gym inside the Trace College campus.
Trailing by a point at the halftime break, 35-36, the Meteors of Gov. Oscar Moreno and Coach Jun Noel began the third period with a rare four-point play by Patrick Cabahug in the first possession that ignited a 16-2 run starring Mark Moreno that the Stallions never recovered from, 51-38.
The win though came at a cost as Moreno suddenly rolled his ankle with eight minutes to play in the third and is doubtful for the balance of the weeklong tournament sponsored by Smart, Accel, Molten, Calcium-Cee, Air 21, Gatorade and Burlington and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
With Moreno down, the other Meteor guards stepped up as Ramil Tagupa joined Cabahug and Lyndon Gudez in keeping the Stallions of Atty. Erwin Genuino and Coach Nomar Isla in check with their timely baskets.
“Our team has been inconsistent in our last leg. Hopefully we can get back on track with this win.” said Metors Head Coach Jun Noel.
Cabahug finished with a game-best 20 points while Gudez added 13 and Tagupa 11. Robert Sanz topped the Stallions with 15 points followed by Axel Doruelo with 12.
In the curtain-raiser, Forward Taguig of Mayor Freddie Tinga clipped the MP Warriors of GenSan of Manny Pacquiao, 84-75.
Nino Marquez partnered with Lou Gatumbato in a telling 15-5 to start the fourth period to erect a 79-67 Taguig advantage with 3:37 remaining. From there, the wards of Coach Bing Victoria clamped down on defense to coast to the win.
How They Scored:
TAGUIG (84) – Marquez 16, Leynes 13, Moody 11, Sta. Cruz 11, de Castro 10,
Reguera 9, Gatumbato 8, de Guia 6, Walsham 0, de Leon 0, Longno 0.
GENERAL SANTOS (75) – Recustodio 17, Cabatu 16, Coronado 9, Mendoza 9, Rubi 8, Locsin 6, Gonzaga 3, Callo 3, Farochillen 2, Ilanga 2, Tadena 0, Sagad
0, Concha 0, Medalla 0.
Period Scores: 25-22, 43-31, 64-62, 84-75.
MISAMIS ORIENTAL (80) – Cabahug 20, Gudez 13, Tagupa 11, Butel 8, Moreno 7, Kong 6, Saldua 6, Barcellano 4, Clavel 3, Mamaclay 2, Daja 0, Guiyab 0.
LAGUNA (70) – Sanz 15, Doruelo 12, Misa 7, Mangahas 7, Angeles 5, Estrada 6, Musni 2, Hugnatan 2, Grijaldo 2, Legaspi 1, Villaver 0.
Period Scores: 14-17, 35-36, 61-55, 80-70.