Home team Bacoor City Agimat put an end to Las Piñas’ dream run following an easy 68-41 victory to rule the South Division and advance to the Finals of the Metro League 17-&-under boys basketball tournament Tuesday night at the Srike Gym in Bacoor City, Cavite. 

Mikhail James Gutierrez once again set the pace with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists for the well-rested Bacoor which took an early 23-13 lead after the first frame against an obviously fatigued Las Piñas. 

With Rhyle Richard Melencio and Mark Angelo Torrijos also chipping in 12 and 11 markers, respectively, the Junior Strikers would not be denied of an easy win that catapulted them all the way to the M-League 17-and-under championship that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with Barangay 143 as league presentor.

With a dominating 27-point win, the Bacoor City Agimat has now arranged an anticipated best-of-3 championship showdown with either Quezon City and Caloocan-Arceegee which are to dispute this Saturday the North Division title of the M-League that is also bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation as major sponsors.

Jan Clement Macalalag and Vincent Joaquin Pecho also contributed seven markers apiece for the seond-ranked Bacoor which dispatched Pasay in just one game in the South Division semis last week. 

On the other hand, the fourth-seeded Las Piñas’ gas ran empty this time coming off two straight do-or-die upset wins over No.1 South Division team Makati and progress all the way here to the Division Finals. 

One factor in Las Piñas’ loss was the struggle of tournament’s leading scorer Jericho Reyes who had to play through a cramp injury only to finish with seven markers and two rebounds much to his dismay in their most important match this season. 

Stepping up for Reyes was John Justine Garcia who put up 11 points and four rebounds to serve as the only silver lining in Las Piñas’ still gallant exit from the M-League that also has 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 and is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow. (JBU)

The scores:  

Bacoor Agimat 68 — Gutierrez 14, Melencio 12, Torrijos 11, Pecho 7, Macalalag 7, Bautista 5, Porcadas 4, Corrales 2, Aranilla 2, Pablo 2, Villarin 0, Rocha 0, Torno 0

Las Pinas 41 — Garcia 11, Reyes 7, Dariagan 5, Panganiban 4, Petilla 3, Fontanilla 3, N. Valencia 2, Manalac 2, D. Valencia 2, Lampano 0, Orendain 0, Ladra 0, Cayabyab 0

Quarterscores: 23-13, 34-19, 46-27, 68-41.