MPBL: Davao Occidental, San Juan clash for Datu Cup

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THE MPBL Datu Cup comes down to an end on Thursday night as fans will witness the ascension of the first ever national champion. Either host team Davao Occidental or San Juan will be feted here at the Rizal Memorial College Gym as they battle it out one last time this season.

Starting at 7 p.m., the Cocolife-backed Davao Occidental Tigers and the Go-For-Gold-supported San Juan Knights will slug it out one last time Thursday. The Tigers dragged the Knights to a rubber match following a late burst in Game 4, allowing Davao Occidental to sent the series back to its home court.

Expect the Davaoeños to come in full force as they brace themselves for war against the battle-tested Knights that is out to relive its glory days.

Tigers rookie head coach Don Dulay admittedly that he has never been in a game of this magnitude.

“It’s the first time for me to compete at this level,” said Dulay.

The hometown crowd will play as the sixth man for the Tigers, but Dulay believes there’s no guarantee that they’re going to win it. They know they have to take it.

In taking the championship, Dulay will need another collective effort from Billy Robles, Eman Calo, Leo Najorda, big man Bogs Raymundo and Finals MVP-candidate Mark Yee to put themselves in a better position to beat the Knights.

The Knights, on the other hand, will have to play it the right way and that is involving everybody on the groove of things — from gunners John Wilson and Macmac Cardona, big men Larry Rodriguez and Larry Muyang, high-leaping guard Mike Ayonayon and spitfire guard Orlan Wamar.

MPBL founder and chief executive officer Senator Manny Pacquiao is going to award the golden trophy and championship rings to the winning team.

Also to be feted Thursday night are the Finals MVP and the Coach of the Year. — Rey Joble