Lackluster in the Finals all series long, Javee Mocon knew he had to provide the spark Cignal-San Beda needed if it wanted to win the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup in Game 3 on Thursday.
However, things looked bleak early as the Hawkeyes stared at an 13-point hole, 42-29, in the second quarter.
“I knew I had to give it my all and we had to go all out,” he said.
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A little pep talk at halftime woke up Cignal, who came out firing in the second half and tied the game at 48 to set up the nip-and-tuck finish.
“At the start of the second half, I really felt I can help our team. But it wasn’t just me, but the rest of the team clicked,” he said in Filipino.
The 21-year-old forward saved his best for last, anchoring the Hawkeyes’ late blast where he uncorked 11 of their last 13 points en route to the title-clinching 81-78 Game 3 victory.
It was Mocon’s best game in the championship series, finishing with a game-high 25 points, seven rebounds, and two steals after averaging a measly 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in the first two games.
Still, he defrayed the credit to the team’s collective effort in the second half.
“Our chemistry came out in the end, especially in our defense,” he said.
It was a fulfilling title conquest especially in a conference where fellow NCAA players ran rampant.
“We had a lot to endure and we had to face a team which had a collection of good players in the NCAA,” said the fourth year guard in San Beda.
“I learned a lot here in the D-League, especially playing as a guard. I hope I could sustain this to the NCAA.”