Syriana, Biboy’s Catering advance to final; SACO stuns Kalmado in 1st MoneyGram FCBL event



JEDDAH — The waiting is over, for teams that reached the finals ahead of the others. In the big leagues, Tamimi Brethren Braves and MoneyGram have drawn teams that virtually came from the backdoor to both earn a shot at the championship crown in the 1st MoneyGram FCBL Basketball Tournament at the Sheraton Jeddah Hotel Sport Complex court.

Syriana Ikk had to survive two overtimes against Jeddah United and a tough game that could have gone either way against KFAFH to seal a no-tomorrow final game against Tamimi in the centerpiece Open Strong Division A.

Biboy’s Catering will be the sponsor team’s final opponent in the Inter-Commercial Reinforced Division B. Off a loss, Biboy’s finally played like the strong team that they are and not last seed that they had become to win two critical knockout games, against Kalmado in the quarterfinal and

Tropang ALJ, who beat them 82-74 in the eliminations, in the semis.

Thursday, Biboy’s had the lanky Joseph Ubalde as the battering ram that repeatedly mocked ALJ’s interior defense in their 94-87 victory in the fourth game.

Ubalde finished with 18 points. Christian Guimpatan added 16 while John Rebulado contributed 15 points and Zyad Pascual 9 points.

KFAFH was without the prolific scorer Jay Liam but Gilbert Cutamora was there and gave Hassan Zeinedein and Syriana a big headache, and it was not until the two-minute mark that this team of Arab and one Filipino, Lisztian Amparado, finally pulled through 63-60 after trailing by as many as 15 points, thanks to Kermo and Hamdy.

Kermo hit three critical three-pointers as Syriana led for the first time at 61-60 and Hamdy followed up a Kermo miss before the latter sealed the final count in the game.

The week was not without some drama as underdog SACO on Friday stunned top seed and unbeaten Kalmado with a 79-78 victory in their semifinal encounter.

In the final, SACO plays the winner of the other semis knockout game between Bakweet and Tilo’s AVK Wildboys who ousted Angels 79-63 in Thursday’s quarterfinal.

Toyota Camry will have a chance to avenge its only defeat in the tournament with a rematch in the final against waiting finalist Al Mabani in Inter-Commercial Non Strong Division C after beating Falcunit 85-75 in the semifinal. Lupac topscored with 14 points while Dharwin Dula and Nonoy Soliveres each had 13.

Dania Foods defeated SNKSJ 86-78 in the first game Friday and advanced to the E2 championship game against the winner of the Hanco-KAUST TT which defeated Assila Hotel.

The E1 championship pits Brawlers against Kalmado, a 91-71 semifinal winner over Cabalen Lulu in the second game Friday. Brawlers downed Saudi German Hospital 85-77 in their half of the semis.

President Noel Miguel heads the Organizing Committee with Robert Jose as commissioner. The technical committee people are Zaldy Ramos, Champ Nur, Abner C. and Ruben Cacdac. The Jeddah Officiating Group, led by BJ Dormiendo and MJ Mercado, is in charge of the officiating while Willy Cartagena is the play-by-play announcer.

MoneyGram is the main sponsor of the tournament. The minor sponsors are: Milagrosa Rice, Sky Freight Forwarders, OSN, Rimmel and Philippine Airlines.