The first ever SBP-PIBAQ Inter Nations Basketball League Finals between the Lebanon QCAVS and the Pilipinas Beton was held last Saturday, April 21, 2018 right after the Emir Cup Finals in Al Gharafa Stadium. With both teams splitting their elimination matches, it was back to square but only this time there will be no tomorrow.The QCAVS were without their potent scorer, Ahmed Takesh while Beton missed the services of their court director, Ronnie Cajayon and shooter, Eric Tamayo.

At the start, Lebanon QCAVS were so aggressive as skipper Amer Anouti attacked the basket in every opportunity. This caught Pilipinas Beton by surprise as they fell by 16 early in the first quarter. With the height advantage in Lebanon’s favor, the Filipinos were so frustrated as all their attempts were heavily contested. In the second quarter, Pilipinas Beton played composed as they patiently moved the ball to find the open shot which most of the time landed on ace gunner, Kemuel Proceso’s hands who drained a couple of treys to start a 12-2 run. With 3 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter and Lebanon still leading by 6, Niño Gelig made a buzzer beating three to further reduce the gap to 3 by the half.

The Beton converted on a short stab at the start of the 3rd, as they double up on defense with the full court press which forced the QCAVS  to commit a turnover resulting to a layup that finally gave Beton a taste of the lead with only under a minute gone in the second half. Beton’s Kemuel Proceso launched another trey to increase the lead to 6 but fell on his back and was done for the night as he was brought to the hospital for treatment. Pilipinas never looked back as the lead reached double figures early in the fourth. Lebanon QCAVS called a timeout to weather the storm as they steadily trim the lead to three. In the ensuing play, Lebanon’s towering center, Marwan Suleiman hurt his knee on a loose ball scramble. This enabled Pilipinas to attack inside the paint, but Lebanon launched an 8-0 run which brought them within 2 with still 5 minutes remaining in the game. A triple by Tristan Cristobal and the mid-range jumpers of Jayson Tiongson was just the right response that Beton had against the triple treys fired by Lebanon’s George Mandaly as Beton secured the win for a final score of 96-89. Jayson Tiongson topscorde Beton with 19 points and was chosen the Finals MVP. George Mandaly paced the QCAVS with his game high 31 markers.

Individual awards were given at the end of the game and the Mythical Five awardees were Andrija Stojancev of Qavana Adriatic, Roy Awwad of Lebanon Sharks, Niño Gelig of Pilipinas Beton, Ahmed Takesh and George Mandaly of Lebanon QCAVS. Niño Gelig was adjudged as the Conference MVP while Qavana Adriatic’s Albin Pjanic was the Most Defensive Player of the Conference. The Best Coach of the Conference was awarded to Renato Dinglasan of Pilipinas Beton.

The SBP-PIBAQ Inter Nations Basketball League was brought to you by the Qatar Basketball Federation. In cooperation with the Philippine Embassy ion Qatar and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Inc. PIBAQ’s 25th Conference is sponsored by Ooredoo, McDonald’s, Philippine Airlines, Happy Journey Travels and Season Restaurant; with FILIPIKNOWS as PIBAQ’s media partner and Ronnie Castro as its official photographer.