Nueva Ecija outlasts San Juan in OT to clinch Filbasket crown


Posted at May 09 2022 12:27 PM | Updated as of May 09 2022 12:30 PM

The Nueva Ecija Capitals celebrate after winning the Filbasket championship. Photo courtesy of Filbasket
The Nueva Ecija Capitals celebrate after winning the Filbasket championship. Photo courtesy of Filbasket

MANILA, Philippines -- New name, same result: the Nueva Ecija Capitals are Filbasket champs once again. 

Jerson Cabiltes' team lifted the Filbasket 2022 Summer Championship trophy after a nail-biting 90-88 overtime win against the San Juan Knights on Sunday night in Game 3 of the finals in the Muntinlupa Sports Center.

"Nanalo kami siguro dahil sa experience namin. Nabuhay ang pagka-dragon ng mga player namin," said Mike Juico, who was adjudged the Best Player Of the Game and the Finals MVP with a 10.7 ppg average in the series.

On Sunday, he led his team with 17 points and nine rebounds. 

Nueva Ecija features the same core as the AICC Manila team that won the inaugural Filbasket tournament last year, also in three games against San Juan. The Knights fell short of revenge in their rematch, despite getting 16 points from league MVP Justin Gutang.

San Juan controlled most of the game, with Nueva Ecija misfiring from long range. The Knights led by as much as nine points in the third quarter and entered the fourth with a 61-57 cushion.

Will McAloney helped Nueva Ecija chip at the lead in the fourth period, before Renz Palma converted an uncontested layup with four minutes to go for a 70-69 lead.

San Juan had a chance to earn the win in regulation with the game tied at 79, but muffled the opportunity. In overtime, CJ Isit and Johnard Clarito found their mark from long range for San Juan, but Juico and Hesed Gabo answered for the Capitals. 

Down 90-88, San Juan went to Orlan Wamar whose close range attempt missed wildly, sending the Capitals into celebration.

"I'm just so proud of my boys for never giving up," said Cabiltes. "After the second game loss di ako makatulog, was just counting the hours to this moment." 

Apart from the title, Nueva Ecija also collects the P1 million champion's prize money from Emedisure Pharmacy.

The scores: 

Nueva Ecija 90: Juico 17, Mabulac 16, Palma 12, McAloney 12, Gabo 10, Uyloan 9, Collado 8, Balucanag 3, Villarias 3, Bitoon 0, Raymundo 0, Taganas 0, Manalang 0. 

San Juan 88: Gutang 16, Isit 16, Clarito 14, Fuentes 14, Ular 8, Wamar 7, Peralta 5, Bunag 4, Sarangay 2, Acosta 2, Ubalde 0.