Punks subdue Sotto-less Hype in Slam Rising Stars

Team Punks won the sixth Slam Rising Stars Classic. Slam Philippines (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—Team Punks withstood a wild endgame and prevailed over Team Hype, 76-74, in the 2019 Slam Rising Stars Classic at the Gatorade Hoops Center on Sunday night.

Joel Cagulangan's late surge almost went down the drain as Mark Nonoy incurred two crucial miscues that gave Hype a chance to steal the win at the buzzer.

Cagulangan broke a 70-all tie by draining back-to-back triples to put the Punks up, 76-70, with exactly two minutes left, and they held Hype scoreless for three minutes.

But Joem Sabandal scored on a layup to trim the lead down to four, 76-72, with 14 seconds remaining.

Nonoy, the Most Valuable Player of the NBTC All-Star Game last week, kept the door open for Hype as he missed two free throws with 10 seconds to play, and Adam Doria scored to further cut the gap to just two with exactly a second remaining.

Nonoy then threw a long yet errant pass to nobody, giving Hype the luxury of inbounding the ball at the baseline.

Forthsky Padrigao then found Miguel Tan wide open from beyond the arc for the potential game-winner, but Tan airballed the trey as time expired.

Despite only making 10 points, Cagulangan's clutch heroics were enough for him to be named the MVP of the said game. He also had four rebounds and five assists.

Padrigao put up 16 markers, one assist, and one steal for Hype, which played without US-bound Kai Sotto.

In a pre-game event, Hype's Jonnel Policarpio won the skills challenge, earning him the Gatorade Fueled Champ award.

He got a full year supply of Gatorade as prize.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno