DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 March) - Former pro Henry Fernandez lived up to his billing in the game that mattered most.
Fernandez hit a three-pointer as time expired to lift Montaña Pawnshop to victory over Duterte Agilas-Goldstar Hardware, 80-79 in their winner-take-all championship match in the 71st Araw ng Dabaw-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Inday Sara commercial basketball league Sunday night at the jam-packed Davao City Recreation Center.
Following a timeout and with only two seconds left, Montaña forward Lendy Dawal made an inbound pass to the sweet-shooting Fernandez who threw up a semi-fade away triple at the right corner that swished the net before the final buzzer sounded.
Fans proceeded to storm the court to celebrate Montaña’s victory that came as a big surprise as the Pawnbrokers were trailing all throughout the game.Agilas forward Apple Coronado split his free throws after his teammate John Gonzaga missed two bonus shots in their previous possession that boosted their advantage to 2, 79 – 77 with 2 seconds remaining.
Fernandez, who was named Most Valuable Player, scored 25 points, 10 of which came in the payoff period including the buzzer-beating triple that upset the Agilas who squandered their chance to cop their first title in several years.Michael Maniego drilled an open layup that tied the count at 74 all.
He chipped in 16 points for the Arman Quibud-owned Montaña Pawnshop which trailed 59 – 65 going to the final period.Gonzaga had 24 points for the Agilas who was up 78 – 77 before the high-flying guard missed his pivotal bonus throws via penalty with 30 seconds left.
Arian Daja also canned 24 markers for the Agilas who was enjoying a 4-point lead, 78-74, after Gonzaga made an open layup with only 1:42 remaining.
The Agilas opened the game with a bang behind the heroics of Gonzaga, Coronado and Daja, taking a 24 – 17 lead after ten minutes of play.But Montaña went into a scoring rampage in the second quarter behind Maniego and Fernandez, a former Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants player, to tie the count at 41 all at the half.
The Roi Josol-mentored Agilas then came out strong in the third period, gaining a 12-point advantage, 60 – 48, the biggest lead of the ballgame.
M. Lhuiller Kwarta Padala of Cebu City clobbered Zamboanga City Latinos to cop the third place honor.Councilor Edgar Ibuyan awarded cash prizes to the winners in the tournament which was the centerpiece sport event in this city’s charter day celebration. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)