A GRAND celebration at home is what Davao Occidental desires when it takes on San Juan in the winner-take-all Game Five of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup National Finals on Thursday.
The Tigers and the Knights clash for one final time at the Rizal Memorial College Gym at 7 p.m., with the winner becoming the second champion of the regional league.
Davao Occidental is coming home confident after taking the 77-66 Game Four win to force the decider, thanks to the heroics of Billy Robles.
Tigers coach Don Dulay, however, was quick to note that whatever the teams did to get to this level will be thrown out of the window as both teams have to lay it all on the line in the duel.
"We still need to go out there and play. We just have to take it from them," he said. "Yes, playing in front of our home crowd would be nice, but the outcome still depends on us. We just have to do our part."
Mythical Team member Mark Yee is poised to lead Davao Occidental as Dulay also expects big games from Robles, Leo Najorda, Bonbon Custodio, Eman Calo, and Bogs Raymundo.
On the other hand, San Juan is looking to complete what it feels was a delayed coronation as the Go for Gold-sponsored franchise aims to snare its first title since the first conference of the 2001 Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).
Knights mentor Randy Alcantara will count on his leaders John Wilson and Mac Cardona, as well as veteran Larry Rodriguez and upstarts Mike Ayonayon, Larry Muyang, and Orlan Wamar to steal a win in enemy territory.
MPBL founder and chief executive officer Sen. Manny Pacquiao will be on hand to award the championship trophy, as well as the Finals MVP and Coach of the Year honors.