ALLAN Mangahas showed big-game guts in drilling the important shots on his way to another finals appearance in the PBA D-League.
Mangahas had 15 points after converting five triples, none bigger than the trey he made with 4.3 seconds left to seal the win for Racal Ceramica over CafeFrance, 78-74, in Game Three of the Aspirants Cup semifinals.
The 29-year-old Mangahas made it to his third PBA D-League finals, taking Racal to its maiden title series stint after joining the developmental league in 2014.
Incidentally, it was in 2013, or a year before Racal joined the league, when Mangahas won his first league title after leading Blackwater to an upset victory over NLEX in the Foundation Cup.
Mangahas admitted his experience playing in the PBA D-League proved useful in the crucial Game Three.
“Siguro sa tagal ko na naglalaro sa D-League, alam ko na ‘yung laruan,” said Mangahas. “Gina-guide ko rin ‘yung teammates ko kasi isa na ako sa mga pinakamatanda dito.”
Mangahas showed nerves of steel as he converted three straight triples that put Racal up, 60-54, in the fourth quarter, enough of a lead to hold off a late Bakers rally.
The former Mapua standout said he allowed the game to come to him, seeing Racal’s depth in the guard play.
“Hinahayaan ko lang sila Salado, Nambatac, kasi sila naman ang dumidiskarte sa amin. Sakto lang na nung nag-create si Salado, na-oopen ako,” said Mangahas.
As he plays in another finals set in the D-League, Mangahas believes Racal is ready to take on Cignal, especially after the Hawkeyes barely escaped with the win in their elimination round encounter.
“Malaki naman chance namin kasi kung sino ang manalo, kaya namin i-match-up. Nanalo kami sa Tanduay tapos sa Cignal, close game at sa last minute na lang lumayo,” said Mangahas.