LSGH completes improbable climb, upsets Mapua for first crown
Joshua David and Joel Cagulangan sparkled down the stretch as College of St. Benilde-La Salle Green Hills stunned top seed and defending champion Mapua, 75-74, to capture its first NCAA juniors basketball crown on Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
David finished with 27 points, while Cagulangan dished out an all-around game of 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Junior Blazers completed a stunning climb to the top, after nearly missing out on the playoffs.
It was the first title for LSGH since joining the league in 1998.
Coach Marvin Bienvenida dedicated the victory to the long list of players and coaches who were involved in the program from the start.
“We joined the NCAA in 1998 and for all the players who played since 1998 until today, this is for them,” Bienvenida said, after his wards unseated the Cardinals.
Cagulangan, the 5-foot-9 playmaker, once again made the biggest impact by nailing two free throws with under a minute left to put the Junior Blazers ahead to stay.
The performance capped an impressive three weeks for Cagulangan, who almost singlehandedly carried LSGH to wins against San Beda in the semifinals and against Mapua in the finals opener.
The Junior Blazers dropped five of their last six games in the elimination round, before bundling out San Sebastian College-Recoletos in a playoff for the No. 4 seed.
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