LONDON - The Genesis Professionals are the best in the West after winning the Kapisanan ng mga Manlalarong Pilipino sa Inglatera (KAMPI) West London summer basketball 2011 championship.
|The Genesis Professionals - KAMPI West 2011 Summer League Champions
The final game between Genesis and the Stunners took place last October 23 at a sports hall in Northolt, London and was witnessed by fans of all ages.
Neither Genesis nor the Stunners were frontrunners during the regular season, which started last June. But they held respectable records and went into the final game with confidence after having strong playoff runs.
Road to the Finals
The Stunners were the defending summer league champions and knocked out tournament favorites the Titans in the semi-finals. They boasted a line-up that included former Most Valuable Player Jefferson de Vera and this season's best power forward, Angel Ebilane.
On the other hand, Genesis was the league newcomer, but they steamrolled through the regular season. Led by a host of veterans including former Philippine Basketball Association players Mike Mustre, Ruel Bravo and playing coach June Carmona, they recorded 9 wins against only one defeat.
Unfortunately for Genesis, they only finished 6th in the league standings after forfeiting two games.
Back and forth game
Billed as a clash between the young and the old, many expected the final to be a close encounter.
Genesis set the pace from the tip-off, maintaining a lead of at least 6 points in the opening minutes. They continued to pull away in the first half, taking advantage of many missed opportunities by the Stunners.
With the score 30-17 in favor of Genesis, the Stunners stemmed the tide by calling a time-out.
Upon their return, the defending champions gradually chipped at the deficit, and their improved defense restricted Genesis to only 9 points over the next four minutes.
With two minutes left on the clock, a 3-pointer from de Vera brought the Stunners back to within a single digit, 43-42. Genesis, however, came roaring back and went into halftime with a 48-42 lead.
In the second half, the Stunners struggled to contain Genesis' young point guard, 18-year-old Terence Mustre who repeatedly sliced through their defense.
Mustre, who was named best point guard of the season, finished with 27 markers to lead all scorers.
With 7 minutes to go and Genesis leading 77-63, the Stunners tried to fight their way back in the game, but Genesis veterans used their experience to hold back the rally.
The final score was 94-81 for Genesis, who won its first KAMPI West championship title.
Former San Miguel Beerman Mike Mustre was named Finals MVP after a strong game that saw him score 25 points, along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
When asked whether he employed moves from his PBA days, Mustre laughed and replied, "Siguro, talagang utak na lang ang gumagana. Yung resistensya wala na."
Despite their loss, Stunners captain de Vera still had reason to be happy.
"I'm proud of my team. We got this far. At the end of the day, we were up against a very good team. Congratulations to Genesis. This is only going to make us stronger," said de Vera, who finished with 18 points.
KAMPI West Vice Chair Sonny Sanchez was happy with how the event panned out and commended both teams for making it a clean and competitive final.
"The overall finals was basically a clash of the titans... Stunners versus Genesis Professionals worked out very, very well," Sanchez said. "The winners were the rightful winners, they deserved it."
KAMPI West's winter basketball league will begin at the end of November.