Joel Cagulangan spent more than 51 minutes on the floor.
And it was all worth it as the La Salle Greenhills Greenies went on to upset San Beda Red Cubs, 110-108, in triple overtime.
No key player of the Greenies or the Red Cubs ever spend that much time on the court that afternoon, and Cagulangan had to fight off leg cramps with the number of minutes that he was playing.
“Sabi ni coach, tiwala lang sa sarili. Huwag ko masyado isipin iyung injuries at cramps. Malapit na tayo,” said Cagulangan when it was over, and with at least five players already suffering from cramps also over the length of time it took to finish the game.
Cagulangan fired 29 points, and he broke the game’s last deadlock in the last 59.2 seconds with a quick drive, 105-103.
After that, cramps also took its toll on the Red Cubs.
Prolific Evan Nelle left the game and had to be led out, after suffering from leg cramps, and not after producing a team-high 26 points.
His absence kept the Red Cubs from forcing another deadlock.
With big man Germy Mahinay out on cramps also, the Greenies padded their edge to four off Jacob Lao’s two charities in the remaining 26 seconds, 107-103.
“He just refused to lose. This is what they have been practicing for everyday at hangga’t hindi sumusuko ang katawan mo,” said LSGH coach Marvin Bienvenida.
Joshua David had 16 points for LSGH, which returned to finals after last making it in season 89.
The Greenies will now a best-of-three finals showdown with the defending champion Malayan High School of Science Red Robins starting this Friday.
The last time they reached the finals was in season 89, and with Prince Rivero and Kobe Paras still around.They lost the crown to the Red Cubs, who had a thrice-to-beat privilege at that time.
The Red Cubs, who drew 22 points from Ain Obenza, missed the finals for the first time in nine years.
Greenies cager Mark Sangco drove with 10 seconds left while Nelle missed a buzzer-beating triple to send the
contest into its first overtime, 78-all.
Cagulangan, who had five treys, tied the match with a three-pointer in the last 1:25, while Nelle bungled another triple at the buzzer to force the second extension, 89-all.
The 5-11 Cagulangan’s triple in the remaining 4.2 seconds led to a third extension, and that’s after Nelle once again misfired with a triple at the buzzer.
First game (juniors)
LSGH-CSB 110 -- Cagulangan 29, David 18, Fornillos 16, Marcos 15, Morales 9, Mosqueda 8, Sangco 7, Perez 6, Lao 2, Cruz 0.
SBC 108 -- Nelle 26, Obenza 22, Mahinay 20, Velasquez 12, Etrata 10, Tagala 7, Abu Hijle 4, Sese 3, Alfaro 2, Nayve 2, Oliva 0.
Quarter-scores: 19-20, 36-32, 56-55, 78-78, 89-89, 95-95, 110-108.