PAMPANGA BRINGS HOME NBL PRESIDENT’S CUP TITLE; LEVI HERNANDEZ CARRIES DELTA TO TOP
Pampanga Delta stunned the La Union Paower with a streak-busting 76-68 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday to capture the National Basketball League (NBL) Season 3 Black Arrow Express-President’s Cup at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Pampanga clinched the best-of-five finals series with a 3-1 win-loss record to clinch the NBL crown for the first time since joining the league last season.
Levi Hernandez led Delta’s campaign in the league and scored 24 points and was hailed as the Finals MVP for his consistent performance for the entire season.
The Arellano product averaged 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals in the final series.
The 25th overall pick in the PBA draft sparked the second quarter in which the Delta outscored the Paower, 18-9, and 35-27 to claim the halftime lead.
Mark Tamayo and Michael Juico each had 11 points apiece and made key shots that contained La Union in the second half.
Meanwhile, Jayson Apolonio top-scored for the Paower with 21 points but it was not enough. The team showed a gallant effort in the entire series as La Union was able to tie the series in Game 2 with an 84-80 win.
It was still a respectable performance for the Paower, who were making their debut appearance in the regional league.
The Pampanga-based team settled for second place behind Taguig in the second season of the President’s Cup but bounced back with a successful run in Season 3 by finishing the eliminations with a 5-1 win-loss slate.
Delta picked up where they left off in the bubble finals despite the absence of Encho Serrano and Justine Baltazar, who were not lined up by the team for their college eligibility with La Salle might be jeopardized.
Delta head coach and Pampanga governor Dennis Pineda claimed their first NBL championship. Pineda expressed his satisfaction with the play of a team that bears his nickname, determined not to go into a rubber match for the title.
PAMPANGA (76) – Hernandez 24, Tamayo 11, Juico 11, Gania 7, Maiquez 6, Pascual 6, Binuya 5, Santos 2, Manaloto 2, Llangco 2, Antiza 0.
LA UNION (68) – Apolonio 21, Maynes 15, Silverie 8, Ablao 8, Gatchallan 7, Caasi 5, Fontanilla 4, Doliente 0, Francisco 0, Camaya 0.
Quarter Scores: 17-18, 35-27, 58-51, 76-68.