It was a shot made in heaven.
King Tiger Mark Yee knew it was coming when he threw a prayer from beyond the arc in the dying seconds of the extra period for the go-ahead, payback basket that clinched for them the championship of the Chooks to Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup one Sunday night at the Subic bubble in SBMA, Olongapo City.
Yee, the season’s Best Defensive Player and Finals MVP, his teammates, coaching staff, fans and management of both Davao Occidental and Cocolife praised God for the hard-earned victory that erased the stigma they kept in their hearts as a result of last season’s heartache in Davao up to the bubble in Subic.
“Ramdam ko ang basbas ni God nang pawalan ko ang tres na iyon. Salamat Po!” said the acknowledged leader of the Tigers, whose accomplished mission proved to be sweeter against their former tormentors, the dethroned champion San Juan Knights in the Datu Cup of the League, organized by Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Deputy team manager Ray Alao relayed the team’s success to Davao Occidental team owners Governor Claude Bautista and Rep. Claudine Bautista, manager Dinko Bautista, basketball operations head Bong Baribar and Cocolife’s top brass Atty. Jose Martin Loon, SVP Joseph Ronquillo, VP Rowena Asnan and EVP Franz Joie Araque and the team’s followers as a whole for the momentus triumph.
“Sobrang sarap ng Gift of God na nagpasulit sa sakripisyo ng buong team sa bubble,” said Alao, who stuck it out with the Tigers from Day 1 of their mission.
Cocolife’s commitment to the team started from the Datu Cup all the way to the Lakan Cup. The firm never doubted the capability of the Tigers in winning the championship and it came after only two exciting seasons. It was first a heartbreaker that turned into tears of joy as the Tigers concluded a storybook masterpiece.
“We have big God from the start. Cocolife really believed in the management (Davao Occidental Tigers) and all the members of the team as we will continue to support Davao Occidental Tigers if they wish to continue next season.” said Senior Vice President Joseph Ronquillo, who always found time joining the team’s scrimmages, even before the pandemic.
The company’s Vice President Asnan seconded the view of the team’s winning tradition that was a product of determination, dedication, sacrifice, and true faith in God.
“Cocolife has always believed in the capability of the team to rise despite the odds. The challenges that we have faced in the past pushed the team on to work harder and smarter”, Asnan said. “It’s all about passion, respect and love to the team and the game. We offer everything to the Almighty,” he said.
With Yee savoring the sweetness of victory are the league’s Sportsmanship Awardee Billy Robles, Bonbon Custodio, Emman Calo, Joseph Terso, Kenneth Mocon, Chester Saldua, Gerwin Caco, Yvan Ludovice, Marco Balagtas, Richard Albo, Ronald Lamocha, Bogs Raymundo, and Mark Bonleon, with champion coach Dulay and his deputies Manu Inigo and Rob Wainwright.
“The winning tradition never stops here. Hear the Tigers roar once more in the next MPBL,” the chief team backer assured as their partnership with Davao Occidental will go on and beyond as long as he is Cocolife’s top executive.