To the resounding roars of an exuberant home crowd, Leones de Ponce claimed their 13th Puerto Rican BSN title via a 88-75 victory over Capitanes de Arecibo. Their win ends a decade-long drought for the franchise who last tasted gold in 2004.
This was the first championship for coach Nelson Colon. He expertly capitalized on his team’s Game-5 win the night before and rode the momentum from there. His players executed well on offense, unselfishly sharing the ball and attacking the basket aggressively.
Ponce set the pace with early first quarter attack, but Arecibo stood tall and fought back to take the lead by the time halftime whistle sounded. Coach Colon rallied his men during the break and they came out with renewed vigor to retake the advantage. The team from Ponce held strong heading into the final period and Arecibo could not steal away the win.
Leones de Ponce was led by Angel Daniel Vasallo, who tallied 21 points and five rebounds for the game. Import Mike Harris was named the finals M.V.P. and was exceptional with 16 points and 11 boards to his name. Ike Diogu was their main man in the middle with a double-double of his own, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Capitanes de Arecibo felt the disadvantage of their star Renaldo Balkman being hampered by injuries. For this game, reserves David Cortes and Shawn Redhage were their top performers. Redhage came up with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Cortes chipped in 16 points.