Clutch 3 gives Basilan title, P2-M Chooks bounty
A cliffhanger overtime victory by Basilan over Nueva Ecija. A 3-pointer buzzer-beater by Philip Manalang before a loud but ruly crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
It was the fitting ending for the riveting Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational late Thursday.
Despite missing his first eight attempts from the floor, Manalang did not hesitate to fire from afar and hit the basket that lifted Basilan Jumbo Plastic Medical Depot past the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, 84-81, in the one-game tussle for the title and the P2 million bonanza that went along with it.
The play devised by Basilan coach Jerson Cabiltes with 1.9 seconds left had Jonathan Uyloan as the first option. But it was the erstwhile cold-shooting Manalang, a former standout at University of the East, who managed to squeeze open and receive an inbound pass from Michael Juico.
Manalang made his only three points of the game, but it was enough for him to be named Most Valuable Player of the championship match and earn a share of the rich bounty dangled by Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas.
The Rice Vanguards, who had chances to wrap up the tight game marked by 13 ties and 21 lead changes, settled for the P500,000 runnerup purse.
Pasig Sta. Lucia dumped Imus Buracai de Laiya, 100-80, in the afternoon to clinch third place and earn P200,000.