PARAÑAQUE beat Dasmariñas in double overtime, 112-104, on Saturday to complete a sweep of the National Basketball League finals at the Ugnayang La Salle Gymnasium in Dasmariñas.
Noy Bermudes and Jess Quilatan came up big as the Aces became the first-ever champion of the league.
Bermudes captured the finals Most Valuable Player after scoring 19 points in Game Two despite playing with fever, while Quilatan finished the first overtime with five straight points to extend the game.
Parañaque was still trailing, 97-92, with 23 seconds left in the first overtime when Quilatan scored on a lay-up. The Aces forced a turnover with Quilatan burying a triple from about 40 feet with 1.9 seconds to tie the game.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Lord na binigyan nila ako ng players na hindi nag-give up hanggang huli,” said Parañaque coach Harold Sta. Cruz. “Alam namin na parang wala nang pag-asa pero still, ‘yung mga puso ng mga bata, hindi nag-give up. Parang mga beterano na eh. Dun ko nakita ‘yung puso nila.”
Parañaque spoiled the effort of Dasmariñas guard John Cantimbuhan, who won the Pinakamahusay na Homegrown Player award or the Most Valuable Player. He had 27 points, 10 assists and four steals in the loss.
“Sinabi ko lang talaga na composed muna, kaya pa, and we have to make some stops. Sinunod ako ng mga players. ‘Yun ang gusto ko sa mga players ko, nakikinig sila. Nangyari nga ‘yung inaasahan namin, ‘yung stops,” said Sta. Cruz.
“I’m overwhelmed. Since Day One, ang hirap ng dinanas namin ng mga coaches. Hindi kami naggive-up sa pagturo. Nakita mo ‘yung output. Sabi ko makapasok lang tayo sa Final Four, magandang achievement na ‘yun pero hindi tumigil ang mga bata,” he added.
Cantimbuhan and Bermudes also made the Limang Galing Homegrown Players of the Season or the Mythical Five along with JP Rabe of Dasmariñas, Joseph Celso of Bulacan and Shin Manacsa of Laguna.
Jayr Galit of Parañaque won the Sixth Man of the Year.
Game Two capped off the inaugural season of the league that also began with a double overtime game with Taguig winning over Marikina, 110-101.