Fighting Maroons claim first FBA title with road win against Tornadoes

From the FBA's Facebook page
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN FERNANDO, Pam.--After 29 years, the UP Fighting Maroons are champions again.

The collegiate team, representing Quezon City, became the first big winner of the Filsports Basketball Association after downing the Foton-Pampanga Tornadoes, 78-68, in the Unity Cup final at the Colegio De Sebastian Gym on Friday night.

The Fighting Maroons tried pulling away in the third quarter of the championship game of the regional basketball league's inaugural tournament, leading by as much as 14, 58-44, late in the period.

But the Tornadoes, who had the better of the Fighting Maroons in their last meeting on May 16, fought back and were within two, 65-67, with 3:31 left in the fourth frame.

UP closed out the game on an 11-3 run to take its first pennant since Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc led the team to the 1986 UAAP title.

Paul Desiderio led the Fighting Maroons with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Ibrahim Quattara grabbed 20 rebounds along with his 14 points and one block.

Jhapz Bautista made 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists for the Tornadoes, who failed to duplicate the feat of their MBA counterparts Dragons, who won the very first league championship in 1998 right in front of their home province crowd.

Box Scores:

Quezon City 78-Desiderio 17, Quattara 14, Dario 12, Amar 11, Longa 8, Vito 7, Asilum 3, Prado 3, Juruena 2, Webb 1, Gallarza 0, Lim 0, Tekoudjou 0, Jaboneta 0

Pampanga 68-Bautista 15, Hernandez 14, Rogado 13, Ablaza 9, Gomez 8, Rivera 4, Bangal 3, Mallari 2, Vitug 0, Nacpil 0, Agustin 0

Quarterscores: 11-12, 30-35, 59-51, 78-68