ARQ sets final clash vs. Artera

LEADER. Ian Ortega led ARQ Builders with 20 points in the Conference Finals. 
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LEADER. Ian Ortega led ARQ Builders with 20 points in the Conference Finals. / MPBA

THE ARQ Builders and the Artera Builders will go for all the marbles in the Mandaue’s Pride Basketball Association (MPBA) Cebuano Cup after winning the conference finals last Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex.

The ARQ Builders of businessman and sportsman Jason Arquisola overcame tough odds, hurdling a huge 18-point deficit at the start of the second period to pull off an 85-78 victory over the Agalons Hauler and win the Southern Conference crown.

Meanwhile, the Artera Builders knocked off the defending champions Truck N Trail, 87-79, to hoist the Northern Conference title.

ARQ faced an uphill against Agalons as it trailed 78-73, heading to the last five minutes of the fourth period. However, ARQ showed its championship experience, unleashing a devastating 14-1 run in the final stretch to notch the win.

Former Cebu City Sharks ace Ian Ortega had 20 points, six rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block. Team captain Spencer Ugsimar added 18 points, eight boards, four assists, and five steals, while forward John Villabrille tallied 17 points, three rebounds, two dimes and four steals.

In the Northern Conference finals, Artera asserted its might in the second half when it led by as many as 15 points to oust Truck N Trail, ensuring a new champion will be crowned this season.

Up by only two at halftime, Artera dominated the third and erected a 65-54 lead, which grew to 15, 69-54, in the fourth. Artera’s focus never wavered until the final buzzer to nab the win and secure its ticket to the finals.

Speedy guard Rey Gonzaga led Artera with 23 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals, while veteran Warren Caneta produced 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals. Uking delos Santos added 13 markers and seven rebounds, while Marin Anabieza had 12 points.

The winner-take-all championship game will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at the same venue. /JNP

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