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TRUCK N’ Trail Transport Services and Deon Motors will be battling for all the marbles in the 1st Mayor Michael Rama Basketball Invitational League 2022 after they emerged as the top two teams at the end of the elimination round on Wednesday night at the Cebu City Sports Institute.
The ARQ Builders actually dealt Deon Motors their first loss of the tournament, 86-74, in the main game on Wednesday night, creating a three-way tie between the aforementioned teams and the idle Truck N’ Trail, with the three teams carrying identical 3-1 cards.
However, ARQ fell one point short of attaining a better point difference than Deon Motors, thus forging a finals showdown between the latter and Truck N’ Trail. That game is set on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
While ARQ came away with the victory, it was not the end that the powerhouse team wanted. The Chelito Caro-mentored team came out of the gate with intent and force and led by 15 at halftime, 48-33. They even pushed their lead to a high of 26, 74-48, after a triple by Vincent Minguito early in the fourth canto.
However, Deon Motors pounced on ARQ’s lackluster defense and sliced the deficit to just nine, 74-83, in the dying seconds of the match. Emman Calo hit a triple right before the final buzzer sounded to help ARQ pick up the 12-point win. However, ARQ needed to win by a margin of 13 to earn a finals ticket.
San Beda ace JB Bahio led ARQ with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Calo had 16 points and six assists.
Gabriel Cometa, another ace of San Beda, led Deon Motors with 26 points, six boards, and four assists. Enrico Llanto chipped in 17 markers and eight rebounds. Luigi Gabisan also contributed 14 markers.
In the first game, the Fighter Fifty Wine defeated the Court General, 90-81. Benick Sealana was efficient in the ballgame, producing 26 points.
The champion squad will bag the cash prize of P200,000, while the runner-up will receive P150,000.
The third-place team will take home P100,000 while the fourth-placer will nab P50,000.