Davao Occidental rules MPBL Lakan Cup


Posted at Mar 21 2021 07:34 PM | Updated as of Mar 21 2021 08:42 PM

Davao Occidental rules MPBL Lakan Cup 1
Davao Occidental-Cocolife celebrates after winning the MPBL Lakan Cup. Photo courtesy of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.

MANILA - (UPDATED) Davao Occidental-Cocolife gained payback against San Juan-Go for Gold in thrilling fashion, as they took an 89-88 victory in Game 4 of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan National Championship, Sunday evening at the Subic Bay Gymnasium.

The Tigers avenged their loss to the Knights last season, having settled for runner-up honors in the Datu Cup.

This time around, they would not be denied as veteran Mark Yee drilled the go-ahead three-pointer with 13.4 seconds left to carry Davao Occidental to the championship.

"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 head coach Don Dulay.

The game was knotted at 86 in overtime when San Juan's Larry Rodriguez followed up a miss by Jhonard Clarito to give the Knights at 88-86 lead, with just 67 seconds to play. 

The series appeared headed for a deciding Game 5 on Monday, when Davao Occidental's Joseph Terso muffed two charities in the ensuing possession. But San Juan gave them a lifeline when Rodriguez was called for an offensive foul -- his fifth of the game -- with 27.2 seconds to go.

In the next play, Yee got the ball at the left wing and knocked down the three-pointer that pushed Davao Occidental ahead for good.

San Juan still had a chance to get the lead back, but Clarito's layup attempt was soundly rejected at the rim, and Davao Occidental regained possession with 8.4 seconds left. The Tigers wound up running out the clock as the Knights did not foul in the closing seconds.

Yee, who was hailed as the Finals MVP, finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks to lead the way for Davao Occidental.

Emman Calo delivered 22 markers as well, while Joseph Terso and Billy Robles dropped 11 apiece.

The Tigers went on a 13-1 run to take a 37-21 lead in the second period to which the Knights retaliated with a 20-3 blitz bridging through the third canto to gain the advantage, 41-40.

Davao Occidental floor general Yvan Ludovice left the first quarter with 41.1 seconds left after receiving Clarito's knee to the groin. He was unable to return.

Rodriguez came through for the Knights with 19 points and eight boards while Clarito got 18 markers and 11 rebounds.

CJ Isit had a double-double with 14 points and 10 dimes while Season MVP John Wilson only had 13 markers. Mike Ayonayon only played in the first half, as he was not able to return in the second half due to a left hamstring injury.

The Scores:

Davao Occidental 89 - Calo 22, Yee 19, Terso 11, Robles 11, Mocon 9, Balagtas 8, Gaco 4, Saldua 3, Custodio 2, Albo 0, 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, Pelayo 0, Reyes 0.

Quarterscores: 24-18, 40-31, 56-60, 80-80. 89-88.