Davao Occidental clinches MPBL Lakan title

·2 min read

THE Davao Occidental Tigers finally got the payback they have been waiting for as they finished off the San Juan Knights, 89-88, to capture the 2019-21 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan national championship on Sunday at the Subic Bay Gymnasium.

Veteran forward Mark Yee came up with the biggest shot of the series as he drained the go-ahead three-pointer with just 13.4 seconds left that put the Tigers in front for good. The win let Davao Occidental get revenge against San Juan, which bested them for the Datu Cup crown back in 2019.

"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 of the Year awardee Don Dulay.

Tied at 86-all in overtime, Knights big man Larry Rodriguez followed up a Jhonard Clarito miss to push San Juan in front, 88-86, with 1:07 left.

Then, Joseph Terso went to the line in the ensuing play, however, he missed both foul line shots.

Rodriguez was then called for an offensive foul on the other end at the 27.2 second-mark.

On the next play, with the shot clock winding down, Yee got the ball at the left-wing and buried the rainbow shot to shove Davao Occidental in the driver’s seat.

Clarito took San Juan's last shot but he was denied by Yee, who earlier was named as the Defensive Player of the Year, and the ball went out via the former's leg.

The Knights were not able to foul the Tigers as time ran out.

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

Cebuano marksman Emman Calo led the Tigers in scoring with 22 markers, while Joseph Terso and Billy Robles contributed 11 markers apiece.

Rodriguez came through for the Knights with 19 points and eight boards while Jhonard 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. (JNP)