ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines ? Ariel Mepana fired 19 points off the bench to lead the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños to a resounding 91-81 triumph over the Misamis Oriental Meteors Saturday night in the Smart Liga Pilipinas Conference III Zamboanga City Leg at the Summit Centre of the Universidad de Zamboanga.
The victory completed a tournament sweep for the Niños, who have won all their 16 games in the elimination phase, a record in the tournament.
The perfect record was worth 60 points for the Niños, who clinched the top seed heading into the Super Leg that will crown the next National Champion later this month.
Mark Magsumbol tossed in 16 points for the Niños.
Eder Saldua paced the Meteors with 28 points, but designated shooter Patrick Cabahug shot only 13 after norming 23.3 points in his earlier outings.
?More than the record, it?s good to know that the team is so motivated and determined to bring back the crown to our fans in Cebu,? said coach Raul ?Yayoy? Alcoseba.
?Our four legs will mean nothing however if we don?t bring our game to the National Finals,? added the vetran mentor. ?But we?ll savor this feeling first. ?
The Meteors finished with a third-best 33-point total to edge Forward Taguig (32 points).
The Quezon Red Oilers placed second with 35 points.
Earlier, the EKB-Apayao Rapids clinched third place in the leg after rallying from 21 points down for a 105-84 triumph over host Zamboanga Uno Latinos.
Ismael Junio powered the Rapids with 23 points with Leimar Navarro contributing 15 markers.George Lizares, Contributor