Games Tuesday, June 18 (Strike Gym, Bacoor City)
6:00 p.m. Bacoor Agimat vs Caloocan-Arceegee (Game 1 of best-of-3 17U finals)
7:30 p.m. Bacoor Strike sa Serbisyo vs Caloocan-Gerry’s Grill (Game 1 of best-of-3 Reinforced 2nd Conference finals)

For the third straight year, there will be a new boys basketball champion.

Caloocan-Arceegee pulled off a monumental 76-74 win over previously unbeaten and former champion Quezon City in the North Division final to punch a ticket to the championship round of the Metro League 17-&-under boys basketball tournament Saturday night at the Niagara Industrial Equipment Corp. Gym in Caloocan.

Motivated by a wild home crowd, the Junior Supremos just would not be denied in their Finals run, being the first team to beat Quezon City this conference to grab the North Division pennant and the all-important seat in the Metro Finals.

Caloocan thus arranged a best-of-three titular showdown with South Division king Bacoor City-Agimat for all the marbles of the M-League that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with Barangay 143 as league presentor.

Game 1 of the best-of-3 17-under Metro Finals is slated 6 pm Tuesday at the Strike Gym in Bacoor.

John Sherick Estrada uncorked 21 points, 12 rebounds and three assists to lead the barrage for Caloocan which leaped to a 27-14 lead before unleashing a strong finishing kick to fend off QC, the undisputed No. 1 team in the North Division of the M-League that is also bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation as major sponsors.

Caloocan actually had control of the game since then until midway through the final canto where it was still infront comfortably, 75-67 after an Alexandrei Gazzingan layup.

However, the Junior Supremos still needed one last heroic free throw from Denniere Pancho and a crucial rebound from Ahmad Abdoh El-Hag in the last seven seconds to secure the win after QC roared to cut the deficit to just 74-75.

Gazzingan ably supported Estrada with 15 points while Pancho and El-Hag also added 11 apiece in a scattered attack for Caloocan which had to shrug off Valenzuela-San Marino in the semi-final just to have a shot at unbeaten QC in the North Division Finals of the M-League that is also supported by supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.

Meanwhile, even the 18 points, three boards and four dimes of Alfonso Buot still proved to be insufficient for the Junior Capitals whose undefeated run came to a heartbreaking end in the do-or-die game.

Sean Rivera also had 17 rebounds and nine boards for deposed champion Quezon City which scored a 5-0 sweep of North Division elimination round in the M-League which also has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, PLDT as official internet service provider and Manila Bulletin as media partner.

Marikina was the inaugural champion of the Metro League’s boys basketball tourney in 2017. (JBU)

The scores:

Caloocan-Arceegee 76 – Estrada 21, Gazzingan 15, El-Hag 11, Pancho 11, Bustria 8, Santos 7, Gines 2, Valencia 1

Quezon City 74 – Buot 18, Rivera 17, Polizon 15, Valdez 10, Villaray 10, Uy 2, Oyo-A 2, Dangaran 0

Quarterscores: 27-14, 48-35, 59-54, 76-54