PAMPANGA DRAGONS CROWNED FIRST MBA CHAMPS
San Fernando, Pampanga, Nov. 1, 1998 - The Pampanga Dragons snatched Game 5 from the Negros Slashers, 89-85, to emerge as victors in the first-ever Metropolitan Basketball Association national championship at the San Fernando Sports Complex.
Pampanga coach Aric del Rosario wept as the predominantly Pampangueño crowd that filled every space at the Pampanga Convention Center celebrated wildly. Confetti and banners proclaiming the first ever MBA Champions dropped from the catwalk and champagne flowed freely.
Gherome Ejercito and Ato Agustin led the assault for the Dragons, who overcame a 56-40 advantage of the Slashers and finished the best-of-seven title series, four games to one.
Tempers ran high even among the audience, and the game stalled for 15 minutes because of a scuffle between Pampanga and Negros fans at the stands.
The Dragons were determined to end the series at home and slowly pulled ahead, with Long David's three-point play off Jack Tanuan, bringing the score to 85-84, with only 54.7 seconds left.
Then Agustin took over, splitting the Negros defense and scoring on a layup. He then scored with two free throws off a loose ball foul to set the final count.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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