Gothong Shipping Lines-Rhinos beats Bears to take Elite Basketball Cebu title

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The Gothong Shipping Lines-Rhinos overcame tough odds and slipped past the Cebu Sherilin Trading-Bears, 98-95, to capture the championship in the Elite Basketball Cebu Season 18 last Sunday at the Casals Gym.

Shane Menina, who was adjudged as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, had 29 points, six assists, four rebounds, and four steals. RJ Acha had 16 points, five boards, three assists, and two steals, while Jake Diamante put up 15 markers for the Rhinos of businessmen Clement Gothong and Rafson Chua.

Ranged against a powerhouse Bears squad that emerged as the top seed after the eliminations, the Rhinos dug deep and turned to their defense to stymie their opponents in the second canto and build a 13-point lead, 49-36, in the second period.

The Bears of businessman and sportsman Richard Mercado, though, found their footing in the third and unleashed a massive 19-5 run fueled by the three-point shooting of Mike Cantonao and James Ferraren to grab the driver’s seat, 57-54.

However, the Rhinos kept their wits about them with Menina steadying the ship and scoring the team’s last five points to keep them in front, 72-66, heading to the final period.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the fourth, but the Rhinos remained in front, 93-88, after a transition basket by Menina with 1:05 remaining. The Bears turned the pressure up and cut the deficit to two, 91-93, after a free-throw by Justin Huang. However, the Bears’ bench committed a gaffe as they were called for a technical foul for vehemently protesting a foul called on Ferraren with 31 seconds to go.

This gave Menina the opportunity to sink two of three free-throws to seal the win and the title for the Rhinos.

The Bears were led by Ferraren who had 32 points, seven boards, and three assists.

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