RD TUNA Tamaraws bagged their third successive premiership in the Capital Basketball League edging out National Air Services Saints 65-63 in a thrilling extra time showdown after the scores were locked 51-51 at the end of regulation time on Sunday.
The Tamaraws (wild water buffalo in Tagalog) first claimed the Capital Basketball League premiership in 2004, their debut season, and repeated it the following year.
They then scored back-to-back wins in 2007 and last year.
This win brings their grand final victories to five over the club’s six years.
And they achieved this feat after missing the 2006 season when affiliation and registration matters had the buffaloes sit out the year.
It was not plain sailing for the defending champions as they suffered an upset loss to Saints a fortnight ago in the major semi-finals but they regrouped to take their fifth straight title in exciting fashion.
Tamaraws, with an array of experienced and national players in Bernard and Joe Elavo, Dia Muri and Wally Parapa, dominated the opening three quarters but it was the unsung small forward Harold Elavo, who outshone his teammates sinking 14 points and making crucial offensive plays before being fouled out in the third quarter. He was duly awarded player of the final.
Saints refused to be overawed by Tamaraws’ stellar cast and played with purpose with Pua Muri, Lawrence Lahari and Sibona Kala leading a competitive if not seasoned side.
They trailed 9-11, 16-26 and 35-40 in the first three quarters but fought back in the fourth to force the match into extra time.
In the end, missed free throws and several scoreless raids by Saints in extra time cost them dearly as Tamaraws stuck to their structure and held their nerve to take home their fifth trophy.
In other finals results, Saints women snatched their fourth premiership in a row defeating Tamaraws 48-23 last Saturday.