Davao Occidental exacts revenge on San Juan, clinches MPBL title

The Davao Occidental Tigers turned to Mark Yee to complete their payback against the San Juan Knights and rule the Lakan Cup of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Yee drained the go-ahead three-pointer as Davao Occidental hacked out an 89-88 overtime win over defending champion San Juan in Subic on Sunday, March 21, wrapping up the best-of-five finals in 4 games.

The Knights took an 88-86 lead with a minute left in the extra period off a Larry Rodriguez bank shot before Yee put the Tigers back on top with a booming triple with 14 ticks left.

Yee – who finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks – then forced a Jhonard Clarito turnover in the ensuing possession as Davao Occidental milked the clock up to the final buzzer.

Waterworks followed, with Davao Occidental finally avenging its finals loss to San Juan last season.

Eman Calo topscored for the Tigers with 22 points to go with 2 steals, Billy Ray Robles chalked up 11 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals, while Joseph Terso had 11 points and 4 assists.

Marco Balagtas made his presence felt in the win with 8 points, all scored in the 4th quarter.

The Knights were primed to extend the series to a decider as Rodriguez imposed his will by scoring 6 of their 8 points in overtime, including the putback that gave them an 88-86 advantage.

However, Rodriguez lost the ball with 30 seconds left and committed an offensive foul – his fifth – against Calo, setting up the heroics for Yee.

Rodriguez put up 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks for San Juan, which severely missed the services of Mike Ayonayon in the endgame.

Ayonayon played only 11 minutes and delivered 3 points as an injury forced him to sit out the second half and extra period.

Clarito had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 steals, while CJ Isit pumped in 14 points and 10 assists in the heartbreaking loss.

Davao Occidental limited newly crowned MPBL Most Valuable Player John Wilson to 13 points on top of 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

The Scores

Davao Occidental 89 – Calo 22, Yee 19, Terso 11, Robles 11, Mocon 9, Balagtas 8, Gaco 4, Saldua 3, Custodio 2, Ludovice 0. 

San Juan 88 – Rodriguez 19, Clarito 18, Isit 14, Wilson 13, Wamar 7, Tajonera 6, Gabawan 4, Ayonayon 3, Aquino 2, Estrella 2, Reyes 0, Pelayo 0.

Quarters: 24-18, 40-31, 56-60, 80-80 (reg.), 89-88 (OT). 

– Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.

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