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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blue Haus dethrones Armatech

Blue Haus’ Edsel Mendoza goes up for a left-handed shot against three Armatech defenders during the third quarter of their title game in the UFO Masters caging last Saturday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO) Blue Haus weathered a second quarter storm to beat MDX/Armatech, 88-79, in the winner-take-all finals of the 2013 UFO-Budweiser Masters Division Basketball League last Saturday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Blue Haus lost a 20-point halftime lead, but played steady in the fourth quarter to dethrone Armatech and take the Masters crown with an unbeaten record in 12 games. Blue Haus swept the double-round robin elimination to top the six-team field before routing D&Q Degree in the semis to set up a title match with the erstwhile champion.

In the one-game finals, it seemed Blue Haus was headed for a blowout when it took a 47-27 advantage at the break, behind the 14 and 12 first half points of Junar Guiab and Edgar Pangelinan, respectively. However, the big lead was instantly brought to single digits, 51-47, and Armatech was back in contention after launching a 20-4 scoring run in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Threatened by Armatech’s rally, Blue Haus answered with a 9-0 blitz to reclaim the twin-digit spread, 60-47, but the former countered with a 9-0 windup in the last 2:20 of the third quarter to slice the deficit to four anew, 56-60.

Armatech continued its uphill climb, starting the first one and a half minutes of the fourth with a 9-3 tear capped by Sonny Ebuen’s right corner triple to grab the lead, 65-63. However, Blue Haus quickly regained the upper hand with Tony Diaz also connecting a trey from the right key, 66-65.

Blue Haus went on to widen the gap anew, as it held Armatech scoreless in the next three minutes. The dethroned champion smade one final comeback, cutting the deficit to 5, 69-74, after Martin Moreno made a pair of free throws and Bruce Berline had an undergoal stab, about four minutes left in the game. However, Gus Palacios canned a triple to beat the 24-second shot clock in the ensuing play and that sparked a short 7-0 run and virtually sealed Blue Haus’ title win.

Pangelinan top-scored for Blue Haus with his 17 points, while Guiab chipped in 16. Three other Blue Haus players also had twin digits with Francis Rebuyon adding 12, Diaz contributing 11, and Edsel Mendoza finishing with 10 before leaving the game due to injury early in the third. Pangelinan made the bulk of his points in the second quarter, as he dropped three triples to turn a slim 18-17 advantage to a promising 20-point lead.

Moreno led Armatech’s losing cause with his 21 markers.
Meanwhile in the battle for third place, Laguna/Erika’s Catering routed D&Q Degree, 143-91, behind the record-breaking performance of Rodney Catalla.
Catalla drained 19 triples to set a new league mark, eclipsing the 16 treys of James Abuy while playing for Armatech last season. Catalla finished with 59 points and drilled 10 straight triples in the fourth quarter. He nailed four shots from the parking lot earlier in the final canto.

Third Place
Laguna 143 – Catalla 59, Tabora 40, Buhay 15, Lansang 8, Darag 6, Zapata 2.
D&Q Degree 91 – Rabago 32, Valdez 15, Echavez 12, Pablo 9, Jinang 8, de la Torre 8.
Scoring by quarters: 23-26, 56-46, 93-68, 143-91.

Finals
Blue Haus 88 – Pangelinan 17, Guiab 16, Rebuyon 12, Diaz 11, Mendoza 10, Santos 7, G. Palacios 7, F. Palacios 2, Fernandez 1.
Armatech 79 – Moreno 21, Montano 16, Berline 14, Ebuen 12, Malasarte 4, Park 4, Gabaldon 3.
Scoring by quarters: 18-17, 47-27, 60-56, 88-79.

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