Nineteen years after taking the MBA National Championship, the San Juan Knights did it again, this time in the MPBL. And it took a kid from Davao Del Sur to do it.
Behind the heroics of Jhonard Clarito, the Go for Gold- and Big J-backed squad took down Southern Champions Davao Occidental Tigers in a Game Five thriller, 87-86, Wednesday evening at the Almendras Gym in Davao.
Clarito – who is just 23 years old and hails from Davao City – did not let his youth hinder him in the biggest of moments. He drove strong to the paint for a clutch lay-up over Mark Yee and Billy Robles with eight ticks remaining.
With no timeouts left, Davao Occidental had to traverse the entire length of the court. The Tigers managed it, but Emman Calo missed a jumper as time expired.
Clarito had 11 points, while Rian Ayonayon powered San Juan with 33 big points.
Veterans Larry Rodriguez and Mac Cardona chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively, with the former also hauling down 12 rebounds.
Davao Occidental’s Game Four hero Robles was shackled by San Juan all game long, going just 1-of-11 from the field for two points.
Bonbon Custodio, who led the Tigers’ third-quarter comeback from 19 down, paced the home squad with 19 points, going 13-of-14 from the foul stripe.
The towering Yee, who was runner-up in the MVP race, was the rock for the Tigers. He tallied 27 points and seven rebounds.
San Juan 87 –– Ayonayon 33, Rodriguez 15, Cardona 12, Clarito 11, Wilson 8, Reyes 4, Wamar 3, Isit 1, Jeruta 0, Aquino 0, Muyang 0, Tajonera 0, Marquez 0.
Davao Occidental 86 — Yee 27, Custodio 19, Adormeo 12, Calo 10, Terso 5, Ombecan 5, Najorda 3, Lamocha 3, Robles 2, Raymundo 0, Regalado 0.
Quarterscores: 21-15, 49-35, 63-68, 87-86.