MANILA - It took four long distance two-point bombs from Manila West in the closing minutes to finally bring down towering defending world champion Doha, 21-17, in the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters finals last night at the Mega Fashion Hall of the SM Megamall.
Aldrech Ramos delivered two, including the championship-clinching shot, while Rey Guevarra and Terrence Romeo each hit one, with the Globalport star snapping a 17-all tie with 30 seconds remaining.
A jump ball in the ensuing play gave Manila West possession and Ramos drained the biggest 2-pointer of his young career from left wing to spark wild celebration inside the court and five floors up where the packed home crowd lined up the glass railings.
Veteran Qatari 7-footer Yaseen Musa was inconsolable, turning furious and going after the two referees even as Doha team officials tried to restrain him and 6-foot-8 teammate Mohd Yousef Mohmmed.
The Qataris questioned a number of borderline calls down the stretch but there was no denying that their perimeter defense failed to shut down the Filipino shooters, who touched them from afar.
Ramos, who plays for newcomer NLEX (formerly Air21) in the Philippine Basketball, and Guevarra, from Meralco, each had 7 points, while Canaleta, from Talk ‘N Text, added 5 and Globalport's Romeo his lone but all-important contribution.
“Never doubted them,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan, who watched Manila West oust rugged Jakarta in the semifinals before crowning a spectacular performance by beating the defending world champions.
The victory was worth US$ 10,000 for Manila West while Doha settled for US$ 5,000. Both teams nonetheless qualified to the Tokyo 3x3 World Championship in October, a feat which while commonplace to the Qataris is historic for the Filipinos.
Scheduling of the Tokyo World Tour could possibly conflict with the opening of the 40th PBA season, but Pangilinan, who owns the ballclubs where Canaleta, Ramos and Guevarra play for, promised to let the players go.
Manila West advanced to the final after surviving rugged Jakarta in the semis, 18-14, while Doha easily made it after raining 2-pointers, 21-8, on undermanned Manila North, who was without injured Ian Sangalang. *PNA
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