AICC Manila captures inaugural FilBasket title

Published November 23, 2021, 12:26 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

AICC Manila pose with their trophy after winning the FilBasket Subic Championship title at the expense of San Juan, 72-68, in Game 3 of their best-of-three finals Monday. (FilBasket Images)

AICC Manila captured the inaugural FilBasket Subic Championship title Monday night after besting San Juan, 72-68, at the Subic Gym.

Michael Mabulac and Chris Bitoon spearheaded the Manila dribblers’ assault in the winner-take-all finals of their best-of-three affair by combining for 31 points.

Mabulac also hauled eight rebounds and got three steals while Bitoon collared six boards.

San Juan drew the first blood last Saturday, 80-74, but Manila lived for another day with a 74-70 Game 2 victory Sunday to forge the winner-take-all match.

They never wavered since then.

Hesed Gabo also fueled Manila throughout the title series by averaging 14.3 points, three rebounds and three assists per game to clinch the Finals Most Valuable Player plum. He contributed 10 points, three boards and six assists in Game 3.

Manila directed the tempo from a 9-all deadlock and led by as many as 13 points, 54-51, off a Ronjay Buenafe triple in the last 52 ticks of the third period.

San Juan slowly trimmed its deficit and threatened in the last four seconds of the game after Jhonard Clarito drained a triple to cut it to only two, 70-68.

San Juan attempted to stop the clock and gain ball possession, but two freethrows from Buenafe off Paolo Hernandez’s foul sealed the win for Manila.

Abando finished with 17 points for San Juan, while Clarito scored 11 points. Orlan Wamar and Renato Ular added 10 points in a losing effort.

Meanwhile, Medical Depot’s Simon David Camacho earned the Conference MVP plum.

Also part of the Mythical team were Muntinlupa Defenders’ Thomas Torres, Nueva Ecija Bespren’s Renz Palma, Wamar and Mabulac.