MDX/Armatech boosted its chances for back-to-back championships after beating Batangas/Fong’s Bakery, 91-75, in their semis game in the 2012 UFO Masters Budweiser Cup last Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
MDX, which took last year’s championship against Cabalen/Wings Travel, 84-79, will defend its crown against LBT/Bayani, who routed Laguna/Twinkle/Erika in the other semis match, 92-72. The championship duel will be played tomorrow (Sunday) at 3:30pm.
The defending champion had difficulty seizing early control of the first semis match despite whipping Batangas in their first two outings. It was only in the third quarter that MDX found its form and then it broke Batangas’ back in the last six minutes of the fourth frame to clinch the first finals berth.
Ahead by only 1 point at the break, 38-37, James Abuy scored 5 straight points in the first few minutes of the third off a triple and a short jumper and the rest of his teammates stepped up, too to grab the driver’ seat, 60-53.
An 8-4 opening in the fourth quarter off Ariel Jinang’s 4 straight points gave MDX a double-digit lead, 68-58, before Amor Casabuena fired a triple to slice the lead to 7 anew, with 6:02 left on the clock.
However, that was the closest that Batangas could get, as it offense was in disarray most of the time, falling prey to MDX’s tough defense from the backcourt. Batangas went on to commit turnovers and Bruce Berline, Martin Moreno, Ariel Jinang, and Ferdie Tobias converted the miscues into either fastbreak layups or free throws.
Moreno led MDX with his 16 points. He scored 7 early points in the first period, but lost his rhythm midway in the opening canto, which ended with Batangas on top, 21-19. Jun Abedes paced Batangas in the first frame with his 6 points.
The game remained tight in the second quarter with Batangas getting enough baskets from Joseph Galulu and Abedes to keep pace with MDX, which could not get the right combination to thwart its foe.
At the start of the second half, MDX went to shooters Abuy and Bernard Montano, while Yoshi Gabaldon, Berline, and Bong Malasarte manned the paint and all five scored to give the defending champion the spark it needed to break the game wide open.
A new set of players suited up for MDX at the beginning of the fourth canto with Moreno, Tobias, and Jinang getting the offensive job done for the defending champion and Berline performing steady inside with his rebounds.
Batangas failed to regroup after falling behind in the third, as it ran out of offensive options. Only Casabuena made more than one field goal for Batangas in the fourth canto, as Galulu was held to 4 points and Abedes nailed only 3.
MDX/Armatech 91 – Moreno 16, Abuy 14, Berline 11, Jinang 10, Montano 10, Tobias 7, Gabaldon 7, Trajano 4, Poquiz 4, Malasarte 4, Canedo 2.
Batangas/Fong’s Bakery 75 – Abedes 18, Galulu 16, Casabuena 15, Gatdula 6, Jacob 6, Bernardo 4, Alanao 4, Puno 2.
Scoring by quarters: 19-21, 38-37, 60-53, 91-75.
By Roselyn Monroyo