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FEU-NRMF makes MBL final

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 537
FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill, led by team manager Niño Reyes, coaches Pido Jarencio, Beaujing Acot and Erwin Sta.Maria and players Clay Crellin, Jerwin Gaco and Erick Rodriguez,  will play in the winner-take-all final of the 2016 MBL Open  basketball tournament. FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill, led by team manager Niño Reyes, coaches Pido Jarencio, Beaujing Acot and Erwin Sta.Maria and players Clay Crellin, Jerwin Gaco and Erick Rodriguez, will play in the winner-take-all final of the 2016 MBL Open basketball tournament.

FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill threw its full might against a hard-fighting Philippine Air Force to hammer out a  vengeful  95-69 win  and clinch the first finals berth in the 2016  MBL Open basketball  tournament at the EAC Sports Center in Ermita, Manila yesterday.

Fil-Canadian sensation Clay Crellin provided the spark for FEU-NRMF, hitting a variety of baskets from almost all sides of the court in the first and second quarters to  power the Niño Reyes-managed team to the final of this prestigious seven-team tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Star Bread,  Dickies Underwear and Gerry’s Grill.

Crellin, the 6-4 sparkplug  who leads the  MVP race with an average of almost 22 points a game during the elimination round, finished with18 points  against  Air Force’s  tight defense. He scored 14 points in the  first two  periods  when FEU-NRMF  pulled away for good, 56-32, from a close first quarter.

African imports Moustapha Arafat and  Bright Akhuetie provided the muscle on the defensive floor as  FEU-NRMF avenged a heartbreaking 82-84 setback to Air Force in the elimination round.

Arafat, the 6-6 Cameroonian center, added 18 points, while Akhuetie, the 6-8 Nigerian banger, contributed 11 points for FEU-NRMF, which led from start to finish..
   
But it was on the defensive end where Arafat and Akhuetie shone brightest, alternating in protecting the shaded area for the Fairview, Quezon City-based team.
   
Former Lyceum mainstay Dexter Zamora and ex-PBA stars Jerwin Gaco and  Erick Rodriguez also provided the much-needed leadership to the team.
   
So dominant was FEU-NRMF that Crellin, Arafat and Akhuetie  all had highlight plays to the delight  of a  highly-appreciative   Friday  afternoon crowd.
   
Jerry Lumongsod and Raniel Jake Diwa carried the  fight for the Alvin Zuniga-mentored Jet Force with 13 and 12 points,  respectively.
   
Diwa had his finest moment in the payoff period  with 10  points, including five in a row.
   
Rama Krishna Morales, one of three Air Force players in the Top 10 scoring leaders, was held to only eight markers by the pressing defense of veteran Eugene Tan.
   
Morales, who delivered the buzzer-beating three-point shot in Air Force’s upset win over FEU-NRMF last Oct. 19,  made only one three-pointer compared to six he made in their previous outing. He went scoreless in the final two periods..
   
Jonjon Rebollos, who hit seven three-pointers in the  upset win by Air Force, only  had two this time for his six points.         FEU-NRMF will now wait for the winner of the other semifinal match between elimination round topnotcher Emilio Aguinaldo College and defending champion Macway Travel Club.
   
The Generals, handled by coach Ariel Sison and assistant coach Bong Melocoton, enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over Macway.
   
The championship is a winner-take-all encounter.
   
The scores:
   
FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill (95)  -- Crellin 18, Arafat 16, Zamora 13,  Akhuetie 11,  Camacho 8, Manalo 8, Gaco 7, Tamsi 6,  Rodriguez 4,  Raymundo 4, Tan 0.
   
Air Force (69)  -- Lumongsod 13, Diwa 12, Morales 8, Cordero 7,  Rebollos 6, Tano 6,  Cuasay 5,Valdevilla 4,  Almerol 4, Ollano 2, Dizon 2,  Malig-on 0, Regalado 0.   
   
Quarterscores: 24-18, 56-32,  80-48, 95-6.9.