Veteran-laden FEU frustrates Diliman College in MBL cagefest
DEFENDING champion Far Eastern University-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill threw the full weight of its veteran-laden lineup to frustrate Diliman College-JPA Freight Logistics, 79-68, and clinch top seed in the 2017 MBL Open basketball championship at the FEU gym in Fairview.
Last year’s runaway MVP awardee Clay Crellin scattered a team-high 21 points in limited minutes as the Tamaraws buried the Dragons with inspired performance on both ends of the floor.
Crellin, the 6’6” Fil-Canadian hit a flurry of baskets from inside and out in the first period to set the tone of the rout.
Aris Gumabay, Japs Bautista, Erwin Sta. Maria, Christian Manalo and ex-PBA star Jerwin Gaco also played well for the Tamaraws of owner Nino Reyes and coach Pido Jarencio.
Overall, FEU finished in a three-way tie for the top spot with Philippine Christian University and Colegio de San Lorenzo-V Hotel9 with 6-1 win-loss records.
The Tamaraws finished first, followed by the Dolphins in second and the Griffins in third after the FIBA tiebreak.
FEU and PCU now hold twice-to-beat advantages in the semis.
CdSL,which swept its first six games, dropped to third place.
“I hope the boys will keep their focus and continue to play well.The next two games —semis and final—will be challenging,” said Jarencio, known as the “Fireman” during his playing days with Barangay Ginebra in the PBA.
It was the second straight win for FEU since the death of team manager Ricky Simpao due to a heart attack last Saturday and the Tamaraws surely gave everything to honor him.
Led by Crellin and Fil-German Glenn Gravengard, the Tamaraws swept their last two elimination round assignments against the Griffins and the Dragons by an average winning margin of 22.5 points.
The Fairview, Quezon City-based team used a blinding start to surprise their opponents and win both matches pulling way.
Arvin Angeles finished with 26 points for Diliman-JPS, which played minus top African import Alex Diakhite and local gunners Kris Torrado and Rickson Gerero.
The Rensy Bajar-mentored Dragons dropped to 3-3.
Also seeing action in the eight-team tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Star Bread, Dickies Underwear and Gerry’s Grill are Manuel Luis Quezon University-Victoria Sports,Wang’s Ballclub, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Philippine National Police.