Dubai: UIG Abu Dhabi picked up the fourth Inter-Emirates Filipino Basketball Championship crown with an authoritative 106-85 win over Queen Grace Dubai late on Friday.
Played before a crowd of more than 2,000 passionate fans, the better built UIG side outmuscled their opponents in all quarters to be crowned champions. Leo Roncal was on fire with four triples to be the top-scorer along with Sonny Tornig for the winners, while Remy Alfaro and Jerry Mendez fought back for Queen Grace.
UIG always had the upper hand leading 24-16 at the end of the first quarter and 43-34 by half-time. In the third quarter, UIG further pulled away at 73-59 and finally sealed the win at 106-85. Organised by the husband-wife combination of Jazz Guerrero and Rolando Crisostomo, the preliminary rounds of the competition commenced on March 15 and concluded with the final on Friday.
The new champions walked away with a cheque for Dh30,000 while the runners-up had to settle for Dh5,000. “All four conferences so far have been a huge success and we are already in talks with expatriate community groups to see if we can launch an open basketball and volleyball league when we have our next championship,” Guerrero told Gulf News.
“We’ve got some good backing from our team of sponsors and that has given us a momentum to keep moving forward. We are passionate about sport and about engagement of our communities with each other through sport,” she added.
Sponsored by Titan Energy Drink, Conquer Basketball Middle East, Sparta Caps, ORS Re-hydration tablets and Filinvest Real Estate, Manila, the fourth edition of the tournament attracted eight teams from across the UAE. “In a short span of time we have managed to even attract former top players from the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA). This can only be a good sign for the tournament to grow further,” Steve Patrick Moore, Marketing Manager, JK Sports noted.
“It is time for us to take the next step and the involvement of the entire expatriate community will be a good addition in the future,” he added.
Champions: UIG Abu Dhabi; Runner-up: Queen Grace Dubai
Awards: MVP for Season 4: Marlon Gomez (UIG Abu Dhabi); MVP for Final: Leo Roncal (UIG Abu Dhabi); Mythical 5: Jonathan Fernandez (Queen Grace), Jerry Mendez (Queen Grace), Raymond Ilagan (UIG); Remy Alfaro (Queen Grace), Joey Medenilla (Bicol Express). Defensive Player of the Season: Jof Tadeo (Queen Grace); Rookie of the season: Bryan Ilad (JND).