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Master Steak down Fighters to take title

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Master Steak celebrate with the trophy after winning CCC Summer Basketball Tournament on Saturday. Photo supplied

Master Steak down Fighters to take title

In a fast-paced, fiercely fought final, Master Steak overcame Extra Joss Fighters 111-100 to win the CCC Summer Basketball Tournament, where a hoodoo around the Fighters misfortune in finals extended to a painful five over recent years.

The Fighters’ notoriously tardy start whenever they face their arch rivals once again came back to haunt them as they fell 13 points behind in the first quarter and had to keep battling all the way to make it up. Despite giving it their all, they never quite closed the gap.

Unlike in Game 2, where Dong Menghamal shot 3-pointers from every part of the court to keep Steak going, this time it was the duo of Fredjie Portades and Janno Cunnaman who did the bulk of scoring, with 35 points each.

While Fighters coach Oktavianus Hauw opted for 1-2-2 defence, his counterpart Kenneth Kim let Cunnaman and Portades freely alternate as point guards, with Aimar Sabayo as the lone centre and Dong and Mercardo covering the rear.

This tactic kept Fighters in check and nothing much changed despite Ken Gadadfi being brought in to shore up defence. Steak comfortably led 59-44 at half-time.

With 15 points to recover, Fighters had to throw all they had and reverted to their favoured 2-3 defence formation, which eventually opened up the game as Nilo Candidato (33) and Humphery Gabriel (28) found spaces to run down the Master Steak defence.

The nearly 200 fans that filled the CCC stands were thrilled with some entertaining basketball display, including dunks from Gabriel.

Master Steak, with bulk of their players formerly Davies Paints, won the 2016 CBL as ALLN before they lost in the finals of the Chitato Basketball Tournament as Master Tapsi.

This was their second triumph under a different banner. Fighters ended up losing their fourth finals in a row.

Meanwhile, the finals saw the end of an era for Gadaffi as he called it a day while picking up the Outstanding Player award.

Gabriel received two awards, the Best Sportsman of the tournament and Most Rebounder. Gabriel was the only player to score an average of two dunks per game.

Other notable awards included the Season MVP award and Most Blocks for Aimar Sabayo of Master Steak.

Hong Kwong of Super Saiyang received the Player with the Highest Points award, while the Finals MVP went to Cunnaman.

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