Pitbulls, a four-man configuration out of the Ravens Basketball Club, was crowed Mackeson ‘Kings of the Rim’ Saturday night at California Square, East Ruimveldt after edging nemesis, Pacesetters ‘A’ in another riveting final among the two teams.
In the usual format, the two teams have faced-off many a times, creating some epic duals in the process. This time they took their club’s umbrage to the streets after surviving their Georgetown zone competition and three rounds Saturday night.
National guard, Ryan Stephney took control of Pitbulls’ offence down the stretch to secure a 17-15 win in the national final. With the scores locked at 14-14 and both sides over the allotted foul limit, Stephney pioneered a 3-1 run in the final seconds for the win.
Stephney scored both free-throws in crunch time to push his team to a 16-14 advantage, which ultimately led to the win and most likely the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after finishing with 11 of his team’s 17 points in the game.
Pacesetters ‘A’ have only themselves to blame for the loss after dominating the first five minutes of the game with guard, Travis Burnett putting on a show for patrons. Burnett led Pacesetters ‘A’ to a 7-3 lead with assistance from Royston Siland.
With just over five minutes left on the game clock, Pacesetters ‘A’ accumulated their seventh foul, forcing doubt on defence. Stephney took advantage of the free passage that was created as a result and led his Pitbulls team on a 9-3 run with three minutes to play.
The rest became history as Pitbulls continued to tear into Pacesetters’ doubtful defence on their way to winning the title they last won in 2012. The dual was a battle among two former champs as Pacesetters ‘A’ is also a former winner in 2011.
Pitbulls bounced away with $500,000 and trophy, while Pacesetters will pocket $300,000 and the runners-up trophy. Each zone winner will also receive $25,000 respectively. The presentation of prizes will be held on Tuesday at Ansa McAl Headquarters.
In their Group ‘B’ final, Pitbulls overcame Colts ‘A’ 15-10 while Pacesetters ‘A’ crushed East Coast-based TRS Raptors 14-5 in the Group ‘A’ final before Pitbulls and Pacesetters ‘A’ faced-off in the championship game.
In the group stages, Pitbulls survived Nikkoloi Smith’s marksmanship to edge Colts ‘B’ 10-9 while crushing Linden-based, Jets 10-2 in their opening game. Pacesetters ‘A’ maintained their perfect record until the final after beating Linden’s Royals 10-9 and dismissing Den Amstel 12-2.
In other games, TRS Raptors thrashed Den Amstel 11-1 while Colts ‘A’ beat Jets 16-6 to ensure a place in the group final. Colts ‘A’ edged Colts ‘B’ 9-7 while TRS Raptors made light work of Royals 16-1 to decide the top four teams Saturday night.
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