There was no way Batangas was going home without the MPBL trophy

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 20, 2018 01:18 PM
There was no way Batangas was going home without the trophy
The only plan for Batangas in their homecoming is a championship parade

Pacesetter all throughout, Batangas has officially crossed the finish line first in the inaugural Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Rajah Cup.

Digging deep and hacking out a well-earned win against late-charging Muntinlupa, they were finally crowned as first-ever kings of the new national league last Thursday.

In doing so, the Athletics completed one of the more impressive maiden campaigns, only losing twice in 17 games in the tournament.

Their first loss came early in the elimination round before they rang off eight wins in a row en route to a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five championship round.

Batangas then stumbled in Game 3, but wasted no time in getting back up and marching forward once more.

All of it, thanks to a challenge posted by head coach Mac Tan from the moment they lost right to the dying moments of Game 4. “Simple lang ang adjustment namin, I just asked the boys about yung willingness nila na ayaw na nilang bumalik pa (yung series) ng Batangas,” he said.

If the Cagers had won Game 4, they would have forced a Game 5 scheduled on Saturday at Batangas City Coliseum.

Clearly, the Athletics were having none of that. As Tan put it, full of confidence, “Kung babalik na kami ng Batangas, yung (championship) motorcade na lang.”

Indeed, from Bong Quinto to Paul Varilla and from Jhaymo Eguilos to Moncrief Rogado, the now-champions made sure they didn’t waste any more shots at history.

And even though he didn’t have the best of performances in the Finals, first-ever Conference MVP Val Acuna was nothing but grateful for a perfect ending to their campaign. “’Di ko po talaga in-expect (yung MVP), lalo na nag-struggle ako ngayong Finals. Pero siyempre, masaya ako na nag-MVP,” he said.

He then continued, “Tapos mas masaya pa kasi nag-champion. Nagpapasalamat lang talaga ako sa lahat ng pinagkaloob sa akin.”

Now they have made history, how will MPBL Anta Rajah Cup champion Batangas Athletics build on this? “To be honest, I just wanna enjoy this moment muna,” their head coach candidly said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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