‘Payback’ as Davao Occidental wins MPBL national title, tops San Juan in OT
MANILA, Philippines — Mark Yee sank the game-winning triple to lift Davao Occidental-Cocolife to an 89-88 Game 4 win over San Juan-Go for Gold in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball Lakan National Finals Sunday at Subic Bay Gymnasium.
The Tigers, runners-up to San Juan in the Datu Cup in 2019, exacted revenge against the Knights.
“Payback. It’s so much sweeter because we got it back from San Juan. We were so close last time and it was heartbreaking as an organization,” said Tigers head coach Ron Dulay, who was named Coach of the Year.
Tied at 86 in overtime, Larry Rodriguez followed up a Jhonard Clarito miss that gave the Knights an 88-86 lead with 1:07 to play.
Joseph Terso had the golden opportunity to tie the game from the stripe but he blew his chances. Fortunately for Davao Occidental, the Tigers regained possession after an offensive foul was called on Rodriguez paving the way for Yee’s heroics.
Yee drained the championship-clinching basket from the left wing with 13.4 seconds remaining.
He finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks and was named Finals MVP as well as Defensive Player of the Year.
Emman Calo led Davao Occidental’s offense with 22 points while Terso and Billy Robles had 11 points apiece.
CJ Isit finished with a 14-point, 10-assist double-double for the Knights.
San Juan forward John Wilson was named season MVP of the tournament with teammate Mike Ayonayon joining him in the All-MPBL First team along with Pasig-Sta. Lucia’s Jeric Teng, Yee, and Makati-Super Crunch’s Jeckster Apinan.
The All-MPBL second team consists of Datu Cup MVP Gab Banal, Manila-Frontrow’s tandem of Chris Bitoon and Aris Dionisio, GenSan-Burlington’s Pamboy Raymundo and Pasay’s Dhon Reverente.
Nueva Ecija owner Bong Cuevas was named Executive of the Year after he helped set up the MPBL bubble in Subic with league sponsor Chooks to Go.
Robles, meanwhile, was given the Sportsmanship award.
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