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MPBL title to Davao

Maharlika Pilipinas

MARK Yee played the game of his life as Davao Occidental-Cocolife edged San Juan-Go for Gold in overtime, 89-88, to annex the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season championship at the Subic gym.

With the game hanging the balance, Yee drilled in a three-point to put the Tigers ahead with 13.4 seconds remaining.

Yee then made a huge defensive play, blocking Ian Clarito’s lay-up and the ball went out of bounce as Clarito was called with a last touch, ending the Knights’ reign.

Davao Occidental won the best-of-five series, 3-1, to avenge its previous championship loss to San Juan.

Joseph Terso calmly sank two free throws off an Orlan Wamar foul for the Tigers to tie the game at 80-80 with 24.4 seconds in regulation.

After the Knights bungled on their next possession, the Tigers tried to steal the win in the final 1.2 seconds but Yee’s potential championship-clinching three misfired.

The Tigers posted a 47-31 lead in the second period and were in total control when power failure inside the bubble halted play late in the first half.

The lull turned out to be a major break for the Knights to come back and take control in the third period, holding a 60-56 advantage.

Emman Calo led Davao Occidental with 22 points while the ex-pro Yee produced a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds to go with three blocks.

Meanwhile, San Juan’s John Wilson was named the regular season’s Most Valuable Player.

A 34-year-old sniper from Jose Rizal University, Rizal led the league in scoring with 20.23 points per game on top of 6.33 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.33 steals.

I worked a lot for this award. I spent more time working out than with my family. I spend six times a week for training. Deserve ko talaga ito,” said Wilson, who was the first MPBL player to reach the 1,000-point pleateau.

Joining Wilson in the All-MPBL First Team were teammate Mike Ayonayon, Pasig Sta. Lucia’s Jeric Teng, Davao Occidental’s Yee, and Makati-Super Crunch’s Jeckster Apinan.

The All-MPBL Second Team was composed 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.

Yee was also hailed as this season’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Davao’s Billy Robles rounded up the awardees with the Sportsmanship Award.

Nueva Ecija owner Bong Cuevas, who is instrumental in staging the MPBL bubble in Subic, bagged the Executive of the Year award.

The scores:

Davao Occidental (89) – Calo 22, Yee 19, Terso 11, Robles 11, Mocon 9, Balagtas 8, Gaco 4, Saldua 3, Custodio 2, 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, Reyes 0, Pelayo 0.
Quarterscores: 24-18, 40-31, 56-60, 80-80, 89-88.