Ardent tramples Novesys to barge into TBL Finals

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by Jonas Egan Reyes, published July 6

Ardent booked the first ticket in the championship round of the TBL League of 40s with a masterful 67-49 win over Novesys, last June 30 at the Upper Deck Gym in Ortigas.

The 18-point semifinal victory enabled the top-seeded Ardent to clinch a Finals slot in this six-team tournament, powered by Kings of the Court | STR8 Philippines.

The floodgates opened for Ardent in the second quarter, with Oscar Martinez III, Ryan Dela Rosa and Effiel Canete leading the early assault. Martinez's reverse layup at the 7:15 mark capped off an 11-0 blast which gave Ardent a 27-8 lead. A three-pointer from Michael Vaca with three seconds remaining in the first half pushed Ardent ahead, 37-18.

Both teams came out sluggish after the halftime break, with Ardent scoring just seven points while Novesys tallied 10.

Still, Ardent was in full control of the contest as they held on to a 44-28 advantage at the end of the third. In the fourth period, back-to-back jumpers from Martinez gave Ardent an insurmountable 19-point lead, 56-37, in the final 5:45 mark.

Martinez notched game-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Emil Catalan added 14.

Joseph Guillermo and Dennis Penus paced Novesys with 13 and 10 markers respectively.

Ardent awaits whom from the other Final Four pairing between IPS and Smart Communications would end up as their rightful waltz partner for the one-game finale slated on July 14.

The IPS-Smart duel is scheduled on July 7 at 3:40 PM at The Upper Deck Sports Center in Ortigas.

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