Whatever happens throughout the rest of his career, JD Cagulangan will forever be a bonafide legend for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
Back in NCAA Season 93, he gave La Salle Green Hills its first NCAA Juniors Championship. Then tonight, the Butuan native sank two three-pointers in overtime – one of which was the game-winner with 0.5 seconds left in overtime – to give UP its first crown in 36 years.
The smallest man on the court definitely showed the biggest of heart.
“Sobrang sarap, wala akong masabi. Champion na kami. Sobrang sarap talaga,” said Cagulangan.
— Tiebreaker Times (@tiebreakertimes) May 13, 2022
From being a benchwarmer with De La Salle University in Season 82, Cagulangan demonstrated throughout Season 84 that La Salle’s loss was UP’s gain.
As the starting point guard for coach Goldwin Monteverde, the LSGH alumnus orchestrated the Fighting Maroons’ offense. He was also the one who steadied the ship when things went rough.
“Lagi akong ni-re-remind ni coach eh – wag kang bibitaw, kailangan ka sa loob eh,” said Cagulangan, who only logged 34 total minutes during his rookie year.
“Lahat naman ng teammates ko, hindi naman sila nagkulang. Lahat kami… Yun ang advice sa amin – hindi bibitaw.”
Despite the win, Cagulangan lamented his poor shooting performance. He only made four field goals out of 12 attempts.
Obviously, though, it’s the last two that count the most.
“’Di ba ganun, kase kung titignan mo yung percentage ng mga tira ko, sobrang lala. Sobrang baba ng percentage ko. Pero ang laki ng tiwala nila coach sa akin,” said the 5-foot-8 floor general, who was shooting just 8-of-52 from deep prio to Game Three.
“Yun ang pinakagandang nangyari sa akin.”
After 36 years, the Fighting Maroons are kings once again of the UAAP basketball court. Cagulangan has shown that it is always possible to rise to the occasion and overcome any and all setbacks.