Yee hits go-ahead trey as Davao Occidental nips San Juan to win MPBL Lakan Cup title

MARK YEE drained the go-ahead trey in overtime as the Davao Occidental Tigers outlasted the San Juan Knights, 89-88, in Game Four to claim the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup title at the Subic Bay Gymnasium on Sunday.

The Tigers closed out the best-of-five National Finals series, 3-1, as it avenged its 2019 Datu Cup Finals loss to the Knights.

With his side down by two, 86-88, Yee hit a deep triple to give Davao Occidental a 1-point lead with 14 seconds left.

Jhonard Clarito then committed a turnover on the other end as the Tigers retained ball possession and were able to run the clock out to seize the title, which had to be delayed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yee, the Defensive Player of the Year and Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds on top of three blocks and three assists.

Emman Calo top-scored for Davao with 22 points plus two boards and two steals while Billy Robles chipped in 11 points and six dimes.

Determined to close out the series, the Tigers roared to their biggest lead, which was 16 points, 37-21, at the 3:16 mark of the second quarter. From there, however, the Knights unleashed a 39-19 assault, highlighted by a 12-1 third quarter finishing kick to enter the payoff period with a 60-56 lead.

Both teams exchanged blows in the fourth that saw several ties, including the 80-deadlock, following Joseph Terso’s two made free throws. A shot-clock violation by San Juan then gave Yee a chance to win the game for Davao Occidental with 1.2 ticks left in regulation, but he missed his 3-pointer.

The overtime period, likewise, went down the wire, but Larry Rodriguez shoved the Knights ahead by two, 88-86, with a floater in the last 1:07. San Juan, though, couldn’t buy a basket anymore, as Davao Occidental had the last laugh in Yee’s title-clinching trey.

Clarito paced the Knights with 18 markers and 11 boards while Rodriguez normed 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Lakan Cup MVP John Wilson cashed in 13 points, five rebounds and two steals in the loss.

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

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

QUARTER SCORES: 24-18, 40-31, 60-56, 80-80 (regular) and 89-88 (overtime)