JD Cagulangan fired a triple with 0.5 seconds remaining to seal the win and secure the first UAAP Men’s Basketball title for the UP Fighting Maroons in 36 years, defeating the defending champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in overtime, 72-69, Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The best of three Finals series saw UP taking Game 1 in overtime, 81-74, while Ateneo evened up the series, 69-66, in Game 2 to force a winner take-all.
At the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter, UP was leading by 6, 56-50, before Ateneo launched a 9-0 run, overtaking the Maroons by 3, 56-59. CJ Cansino nailed an off the board three to tie the score up at 59 and to force overtime, less than a minute to go in regulation.
Down by 5, 69-64, with 1:47 left in extra time after a Gian Mamuyac triple, Cagulangan executed crucial plays starting off with a triple then a pick-and-roll play leading to a Malick Diouf slam to tie the game at 69 with 40 seconds left.
Tied at 69, Cagulangan game-winning step back three to finally end the drought for the Maroons.
“I feel very happy right now,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde. “I want to thank the UP community. I also want to thank the Lord God for this championship.”
Malick Diouf, hailed as the Finals MVP, top scored for the Maroons with his 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 steals. He averaged 11.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks in the series.
Returning from an injury in the second round meeting of UP and Ateneo, Cansino made 14 points on 4 triples and in just 11:50 of playing time.
JD Cagulangan finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
For the Blue Eagles, SJ Belangel carried the Blue Eagles with 27 points on a 10-of-17 clip while Season MVP Ange Kouame chipped in 12 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks.
UP 72 — Diouf 17, Cansino 14, Cagulangan 13, Rivero 9, Alarcon 8, Tamayo 6, Spencer 3, Lucero 0, Abadiano 0, Fortea 0.
ATENEO 69 — Belangel 27, Kouame 12, Mamuyac 10, Koon 6, Verano 5, Ildefonso 2, Tio 2, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Chiu 0.
Quarters: 17-11, 31-27, 46-47, 59-59, 72-69.