Red Rice ruled the 2015 Blue Haus/IT&E Inter-Color Basketball League after defeating Makalaro Lang, 94-91, in their winner-take-all finale last night at the Navy Hill Basketball Court.
Darwin Barbo hit crucial free throws and the rest of his teammates showed a lot of hustle plays in the homestretch to pull off an upset against the regular season champion Makalaro Lang.
Red Rice’s good nose for the ball led to multiple possessions going into the last 1:07 of the match and after Makalaro Lang moved within a deuce, 89-91. Jun Marilla got the first possession off an offensive rebound after Angelo Fernando missed on his drive. Barbo then had another offensive board off Michael Cabanas’ wild shot in the paint, while the latter made up for his earlier booboo by saving the ball from going out to the baseline and kicking it out to Marilla.
A frustrated Makalaro Lang was then forced to commit two quick fouls to stop the clock, which read at 22.1 seconds. Emir Abuan gave up the second foul to a driving Barbo, who calmly sank both charities to give Red Rice more breathing room, 93-89.
Makalaro Lang sued for time and when the game resumed Errol Peredo rushed for a drive and missed. Fortunately, he got the offensive rebound and nailed the putback to keep his team in the game, 91-93, 3.5 seconds left in the match.
It was Red Rice’s turn to call a timeout next and they nearly lost possession after the breather as Danray Chan’s inbound pass to Barbo was slightly tapped away by Peredo. However, Barbo kept his composure and the ball, forcing Peredo to give up another preemptive foul down to the last .07 of a second. Barbo made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second one to secure the championship for Red Rice.
Yesterday’s finale was a close game with neither team able to lead by double figures. Red Rice had the biggest lead early in the third, 60-52, but Peredo sparked a 10-2 run to tie the match. Red Rice, however, regained its footing in the closing minutes of the third period and hung on to a 71-69 advantage, entering the fourth frame.
Makalaro Lang then unloaded another 10-2 bomb in the first three minutes of the final canto for its biggest lead, 79-74. However, Red Rice again found ways to reclaim the driver’s seat with Barbo and Fernando teaming up in the 13-7 exchange. Barbo scored 9 points in that rally, which Fernando finished by stretching for a layup for a shaky 87-86 lead. Cabanas registered the 2 other points for Red Rice and he later made a baseline layup plus a foul on Ernie Moises for an 89-86 spread, 1:41 to go in the finale.
An Ivan Devero split sliced the deficit to 1, 87-89, before Fernando drilled a twisting shot to give Red Rice more cushion. Makalaro Lang refused to give up with still 1:22 left and Peredo made it another one-possession game, 89-91, before they were outhustled by Red Rice in the end.
Barbo led all scorers with his 34 points, while Fernando chipped in 19, 12 of them came in the second half. Devero had 33 points for Makalaro Lang.
Red Rice 94 –Barbo 34, Fernando 19, Cabanas 16, Achas 12, Saplan 8, Chan 3, Anasan 2.
Makalaro Lang 91 – Devero 33, Peredo 25, Velasco 12, Jugos 12, Moises 7, Abuan 2.
Scoring by quarters: 21-17, 51-47, 71-69, 94-91.