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Mega cagers edge RRJM in UFBF tournament

Action continued at the 13th UFBF Fahd Alireza Engineering Consultants’ Eastern Oilers Cup last Friday with newcomer Mega Team beating the equally formidable RRJM in Junior D-4 Division at Al Qadisia gymnasium here.
Both teams entered the match undefeated on identical 3-0 win-loss card but Mega proved the better team, but almost squandered an 18-point lead in the third quarter in posting a heart-stopping 79-78 victory.
With the win, Mega sent a strong warning that they are the team to beat in this division with a clean 4-0 record.
Fahd Alireza Engineering Consultants is the tournament’s major sponsor. Al Hoty Group of Companies, Mohammad Dossary Hospital, 7-11 and Mega Construction are minor sponsors.
Owned and managed by Faisal Renee Muniz Ombayan, Mega had a slow start with main man and veteran Allan Butito only making 9 of 14 first quarter points against RRJM’s 21. But things turned around in the second period with Butito’s supremacy in the paint that saw him haul down the offensive rebounds and score 12 of the team’s 28 points. RRJM went withou a single basket in the last 3 minutes and Mega ended the half ahead by 10 points 42-32.
Teaming up with another veteran Johnny Malate, ace guard Bryan Solis and rookies Mark Concepcion and Keith Morabe, Butito made back-to-back baskets for an 18-point lead 50-32 and made RRJM scoreless in a two-minute mark. RRJM coach called for a cease-fire trying to break Mega’s momentum and it worked as RRJM had a 13-4 run with a man-to-man defense and came within nine 45-54 behind Johnnel Cabuyao, Sonny Cariaga, Edwin Villegas and Ralph Tablang 2:54 minutes left in the third quarter. But Malate and Butito dominated inside the paint scoring the team’s 8 points and grabbing many rebounds and stretched the lead anew 62-49 to end the period.
It was an intense battle in the last quarter as RRJM erased a 13-point deficit behind Cajote, Cabuyao and Cariaga to come within 3 points 71-74, 1:32 to play. Mega’s Solis converted two foul shots off Tablang and Butito had a split charity and again Solis completed his steal for a 79-71 lead with 1:20 left. But Cariaga hit another booming triple and Cabuyao made 4 points and RRJM crept to within a point 78-79 in less than a minute to play. Both teams applied heavy pressure and failed to score from there as the final buzzer sounded.
Butito top-scored for Mega with 26 points and had 12 rebounds, Solis had 14, Malate added 12 while Morabe and Mamaid combined for 16 markers. Cariaga led RRJM with 31 points, Cabuyao added 21 while Villegas and Tablang each contributed 11 points.
Other game results: Gubat (71) beat Kabsa (63); JGC Samurai (97) thrashed Aramex (73); Metals recorded its first win in 4 games against Al Tuwairqi, 83-76; King Abdulaziz Squadron (100) downed MFSI (92); Gas Arabian continued its winning streak by beating IECEP-ERC, 74-67; Mega Const (79) edged RRJM (78); Huya (77) beat Beta Sigma (70) while Al Osais (79) defeated Al Kholi (69).