Scottie Thompson defensive gems help Hapee nip Cagayan Valley in OT and claim D-League title on first try
The Hapee Fresh Fighters rule the Aspirants Cup in their maiden stint in the PBA Developmental League. Jerome Ascano

SCOTTIE Thompson intercepted a pass from Moala Tautuaa with 19 seconds left to lift Hapee to a 93-91 win over Cagayan Valley on Thursday in a thrilling finish to the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals at the packed Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

With the Fresh Fighters trailing 90-91, Tautuaa’s pass went right into the hands of Thompson, who scored on a lay-up.

In the ensuing play, Thompson had another defensive gem, intercepting the ball once again leading to Baser Amer splitting two free throws.

To cap his endgame brilliance, the University of Perpetual Help standout swatted Don Trollano’s three-point attempt in the final seconds as Hapee completed a sweep of the best-of-three title series.

Hapee clinched its first victory in the PBA D-League in only its first conference, sweeping the Rising Suns, who topped the elimination round with an 11-0 win-loss slate.

Garvo Lanete had 22 points for Hapee, while Troy Rosario added 20 points and 13 rebounds before suffering an ankle injury in overtime. Ola Adeogun finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

But the hero of Game Two was Thompson, who scored 11 points, the final two markers off a Tautuaa turnover before coming through in the clutch.

“Ang bilis nang pangyayari,” said a still stunned Hapee coach Ronnie Magsanoc when he spoke to the media. “Pagtingin ko, lamang na kami.”

“Scottie saved the day for us. Ganun ka-simple. Unbelievable effort by Scottie,” said Magsanoc.

Hapee completed the sweep without Aspirants Cup MVP Bobby Ray Parks, who went down with a dislocated right shoulder in the first possession of the first quarter and never returned.

Tautuaa, the first overall pick in the D-League draft last year, couldn’t propel the Rising Suns to the D-League crown following several blunders in the endgame.

The Fil-Tongan missed two free throws with the score tied at 81 with 37.8 seconds left in regulation. Tautuaa also had a chance to give the lead back to Cagayan Valley with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth but only split his two free throws.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Then in overtime with Cagayan up by one, Tautuaa threw a bad pass right into the hands of Thompson that led to the marginal basket.

Abel Galliguez had 18 points, 15 in the second half to keep the game close for the Rising Suns after trailing by as many as 11 in the third. Trollano added 17 points, while Jason Melano and Tautuaa each had 13.

The scores:

Hapee (93) – Lanete 22, Rosario 20, Adeogun 19, Thompson 11, Amer 7, Newsome 6, Dela Cruz 3, Elorde 3, Hayes 2, Parks 0, Long 0.

Cagayan Valley (91)—Galliguez 18, Trollano 17, Melano 13, Tautuaa 13, Austria 8, Celada 7, Tayongtong 7, Mabulac 3, Dilay 2, Flores 2, Salamat 1, Santos 0, Capacio 0.

Quarterscores: 16-17; 34-33; 68-65; 82-82; 93-91.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports