It was a match of the top seeds from both brackets with Doha Desert sporting an unbeaten 9-0 record. Kids Come Along for its part had to escape a late game rally by Harinsa in their semi-final match to reach the finals.
As the game began, Doha Desert didn’t wait long to pressure Kids Come Along with their full court trap. This made it uncomfortable for KCA to set their offense and at times resulted to turnovers which were then converted by Doha Desert to points. The guns of KCA went cold as Doha Desert was quick to close out on their shooters and limiting the former to their lowest halftime points of 30 but still managed to lead by two. In the 3rd quarter, Kids Come Along’s Rheden Pelopero orchestrated a 17-0 run which gave them a 21-point lead with 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Doha Desert kept their composure and tightened their defense further, forcing Kids Come Along to commit consecutive turnovers to reduce the deficit to just 9 as they enter the last quarter. With momentum on their side, Doha Desert continued their fine play and squeezed the life out of KCA, taking the lead with 6 minutes remaining in the game by capping a 23-2 run with a trey by Gyrlou Paulin. From then on, the game had 5 lead changes with KCA taking a 1-point advantage. With only 7 second left and coming off a timeout, Doha Desert executed a perfect pick and roll play which ended with a basket plus a foul for Darius Baguio wherein he made the bonus basket to escape with a 63-61 win. Darius Baguio was chosen as the Finals MVP with 14 points while Cesar Abao was awarded the Best Coach of the Season.
The members of the Mythical 5 for the Rising Division are Red Bundallan of Harinsa, Derrick Manalo of Ball is Life, Erivan Tan of Kids Come Along, Darius Baguio and Junie Boy Cornello of Doha Desert. The MVP of the Season was Junie Boy Cornello while Maximo Bingat was chosen as the Most Defensive Player.
PIBAQ’s Ambassador Cup 2017 is brought to you by the Qatar Basketball Federation in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy in Doha and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipines Inc. And sponsored by AliCafe, Diana Jewelries, Happy Journey Travels, McDonald’s, Philippine Airlines, Season Restaurant and Travelex.