Sunday, March 30

Team Liboro - ABL Champs!

kIt took the combined forces of Team Ibuyan and Team Liboro to finally get them over the hump. Team Liboro capped an undefeated season with a 64-49 victory over Team Faura to bring home the championship after 3 heartbreaking losses in previous finals appearances.

Despite beating Team Faura in the elimination round, Team Liboro knew they shouldn't take them lightly as the previous encounter was close up until the final minute. And it looked as though they were headed for a 4th heartbreaking finals loss early on as Team Faura raced to an early 9 point lead in the opening minutes of the 1st quarter. If not for the hot shooting of division MVP "Daddy" Ben Ibuyan, Team Liboro could have been in a much deeper hole. They were able to cut into the lead and keep the game close throughout the first half with contributions from Miko "B Diddy" Borra, King "White Asoro" Dy, and Carlo "Jamario" Buan.
In the 3rd quarter, the game went back and forth with neither team leading by more than 3 points. However, an injury to Mythical Five member Cyrill "Black Superman" Del Rosario seemed to fire up the team as they were able to extend the lead to 9 on consecutive 3-point baskets by Rene "Rini" Liboro and Alwin "Mr. Covered Courts" San Jose to end the quarter.
From then on, Team Liboro played like a team on a mission as its stifling defense, led by Jerry "Braveheart" Bernas, Tonton "Papi" Gonzales, and Pagli "Pacman" Paglinawan, translated into easy fasbreak points. A clutch mid-range jumper by Carlo "Big Z" Arceo proved to be the dagger as the lead went up to 10 with a little over a minute to play. As the final buzzer sounded, Team Liboro was finally able to celebrate its 1st ABL Championship. "Sa wakas di na tayo bridesmaid!" yelled Cyrill after the game. After 5 long years, Team Liboro can finally call themselves brides.

Written by Rene Liboro ("file photo" on the left) for the ABL website

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