MANILA, Philippines – Philip Manalang delivered when it mattered most as Basilan – Jumbo Plastic Medical Depot hacked out an 83-80 overtime win over the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards to rule the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, December 23.
Scoreless throughout, Manalang drained the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer as Basilan completed its unbeaten run of the tournament and bagged the grand prize of P2 million.
Manalang went ice cold from the field and missed all of his first 8 shots, but he did not hesitate to let it fly from deep off an inbounds pass from Michael Juico with 1.9 ticks left for a storybook ending to a campaign that saw Basilan win all of its seven games.
Nueva Ecija earlier had a chance to win it all, but a turnover by Renz Palma spelled doom for the Rice Vanguards, with Manalang dealing the heartbreaker in the ensuing play.
Four players finished with 15 points for Basilan led by Encho Serrano, who also delivered 9 assists and knocked down the free throws that knotted the score at 80-80 with under a minute left in extra time.
Juico churned out 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists, Jay Collado had 15 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, while Jonathan Uyloan chimed in 15 points and 2 steals.
JR Taganas made his presence felt with 9 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 steals for Basilan, which also got 6 assists from Manalang.
MPBL Invitational MVP Michael Mabulac chalked up a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds, but Nueva Ecija just could not get the job done in overtime after he put the Rice Vanguards on the front seat with a jumper with two minutes left, 80-78.
Justin Gutang backstopped Mabulac in the loss with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Basilan 83 – Collado 15, Serrano 15, Uyloan 15, Juico 15, Taganas 9, Reyes 6, Bringas 4, Manalang 3, Siruma 1, Gimpayan 0, Gabo 0.
Nueva Ecija 80 – Mabulac 24, Gutang 13, Palma 11, Villarias 10, Balucanag 5, Sarao 4, Gozum 4, Bitoon 3, Dario 3, Sumang 3.
Quarters: 17-20, 35-36, 53-52, 74-74, 83-80.