Davao Occidental wins MPBL title

Davao Occidental wins MPBL title

MANILA – Mark Yee pulled off the deciding shot in overtime as Davao Occidental Tigers clinched the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) title with an 89-88 Game 4 win against the San Juan Knights on Sunday night at the Subic Bay Gymnasium.

Yee, who was named the Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the day, scored the match’s most critical offensive moment as he beat the shot clock with a go-ahead triple with 13.4 seconds left in the extra period.

Jhonard Clarito, who scored the championship-clinching layup for the Knights in the 2019 finals also against the Tigers, had a golden opportunity to force the rubber match, but the Tigers’ defense forced him to lose the ball while going for a layup, eventually preserving the win and the title.

“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 coach Don Dulay, who was later named the Coach of the Year.

Yee capped a Finals Most Valuable Player performance with 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, while Eman Calo top-scored for Davao Occidental, which prevailed despite losing a 16-point second-quarter lead, with 22 points, two rebounds, one assist, and two steals.

Larry Rodriguez put up 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks for San Juan, which was dethroned as the national champion.

Clarito (18 points and 11 rebounds), and CJ Isit (14 points and 10 assists) each finished with a double-double.

John Wilson, the regular season MVP, put up 13 points, five rebounds, one assist, and two steals.

Mike Ayonayon only got three markers, one assist, and one steal in 11 minutes of play in what would be his MPBL swan song before he returns to NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association as a lingering hamstring injury forced him to sit out the rest of the game. (PNA) 

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