The M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala Cebu Niños regained their national championship in grand fashion by sweeping past deposed champion Misamis Oriental, 89-54, to rule the 2009 Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference III crown Sunday at the Cebu City Coliseum here.
Ex-pro Stephen Padilla made just 3-of-11 treys but those were enough to ignite several spurts that enabled the Niños to build enough cushion in the first half en route to winning their second championship by a sweep.
The Niños were so dominant they became the first team in the two-year history of the league to finish a conference with a perfect record. They won all their 21 games, including their one-game face-off with the Meteors for the title.
Padilla, who previously played for the MBA’s Cebu Gems and the PBA’s Alaska Milk, finished with 12 points, all in the first half, to be adjudged as the Super Leg’s Most Valuable Player for his splendid play during the week-long tournament.
Lefty guard Mark Ababon led the way for the Niños with 14 points while Frank Nailon hit nine of his 13 points in the payoff period as the lead ballooned to 30 points.
The hosts forced the Meteors to commit 20 of their 23 turnovers during a tension-filled first half leading to 19 points while Padilla fired his third trey with 58 seconds remaining in the second period for a commanding 44-20 advantage.
Guard Mark Moreno was the lone double-digit scorer for MisOr with 15 points but saw a lack of production from team’s top scorer Patrick Cabahug who had just four points.
Last Saturday, Patrick Cabahug’s red-hot shooting helped the Meteors score a 71-69 win over the Quezon Red Oilers and earn the last finals berth in the 2009 Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference III Super Leg Saturday at the Cebu City Coliseum here.
Cabahug was at his best in the payoff period, pouring in 10 of his 15 to help the Meteors rally from a seven-point deficit in the third period.
Meanwhile, Cebu Niños’ speedy point guard Woodraw Enriquez romped away the MVP award for his consistent showing in the tournament.
He was joined in the Mythical Five by teammates Ariel Mepana and Marlon Basco and MisOr’s Eder Saldua and Forward Taguig’s Harold Sta. Cruz.
MISAMIS ORIENTAL 71 – Cabahug 15, Daja 12, Lamocha 9, Butel 9, Kong 6, Mamaclay 6, Tagupa 6, Saldua 5, Mente 3, Misa 0, Moreno 0, Guiyab 0.
QUEZON 69 – Dedicatoria 18, Canizares 11, Labagala 10, Raymundo 10, Mondragon 7, Palaganas 5, Pinera 3, Cacha 3, Panzo 2, Orias 0, Suguitan 0.
Quarters: 18-11; 31-30; 50-50; 71-69.
CEBU 89 — Ababon 14, Nailon 13, Padilla 12, Enriquez 10, Saladaga 7, Basco 7, Santos 6, Dacia 6, Poligrates 5, Mepana 4, Magsumbol 3, Escobal 2, Malinao 0.
MISAMIS ORIENTAL 54 — Moreño 15, Daja 8, Kong 6, Lamocha 6, Clavel 5, Cabahug 4, Saldua 3, Misa 2, Mamaclay 2, Guiyab 2, Butel 1, Mente 0, Tagupa 0.
Quarters: 23-11; 44-20; 61-39; 89-54.