Makalaro Lang set a finals date against Red Rice following a 75-65 victory over Mamba in their semifinals match last Saturday night at the Navy Hill Basketball Court.
Makalaro Lang led right at the get-go to finally secure the second finals berth in the nine-team league. The Makalaro Lang-Mamba semis duel was suspended twice due to rain and was in danger of being halted anew in the fourth quarter due to darkness but both teams decided to continue playing at the unlit court.
The fourth period began with Makalaro holding a 56-44 advantage and that gave them enough cushion and less pressure on scoring, which became difficult in the last five minutes and change of the match as the court was already covered in darkness.
Both teams traded more misses than baskets in the final canto and the best that Mamba could do was moved within eight, 52-60. A Makalaro Lang 8-2 run anchored by Ivan Devero’s 5 straight points took away Mamba’s chance for a comeback.
Devero finished the semis game in double figures with his 18 points, while Errol Peredo top-scored for Makalaro Lang with his 24. Ernie Moises was the third Makalaro Lang player to register twin digits with his 12, while Matt Buenabajo and Raymond Velasco chipped in 18 apiece.
Velasco, Moises, Peredo, and Devero nailed two baskets each in the first period to give Makalaro Lang a 25-19 lead. Mamba fell behind early as only Adonis Macoto and Christian Devero converted more than one basket in the first frame.
In the second canto, Makalaro Lang continued to spread the wealth to make it a double-digit spread 44-32. It was the same story in the third quarter, as Makalaro Lang showed better ball movement to free up their players for easy shots, while Mamba’s offense became predictable with Brendon Talania taking the most shots for his squad. By the end of the third period, Makalaro Lang was still up by 12, 56-44, and Mamba failed to overhaul the deficit in the payoff frame with time and the court condition against the latter’s side.
Meanwhile, the Makalaro Lang-Red Rice winner-take-all finals will be played this Sunday. Red Rice went ahead to the championship game after eliminating Pasion De Amor last week, 91-77.
Makalaro Lang 75 – Peredo 24, Devero 18, Moises 12, Buenabajo 8, Velasco 8, Jugos 3, De Leon 2.
Mamba 65 – Devero 21, Talania 19, Macoto 12, Abadilla 6, Tolosa 5.
Scoring by quarters: 25-19, 44-32, 56-44, 75-65.