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Endgame drama as Ivan Villanueva's goal celebration draws ire from Parañaque fans

Ivan Villanueva's nga-nga pose in the end did not sit well with Parañaque fans. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

STA. ROSA, Laguna—The Parañaque Patriots took their MPBL road loss to the Laguna Heroes on Thursday night like men.

However, some Parañaque fans took exception to Ivan Villanueva's antics late in the game.

Villanueva scored two crucial baskets that helped the Heroes seal the 74-68 home win against the Patriots at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex here, but after each shot, he turned his attention to the fans of the road team that were also in attendance.

Villanueva scored on a jump hook off Dexter Mescallado's feed with 2:15 left to give Laguna a 71-65 lead, but after the lay-in, Villanueva did the "nga-nga" gesture.

Villanueva then converted what would be the dagger three with 23.4 seconds left off a pick-and-pop play from Paolo Pontejos.

Villanueva, though, stared at the Parañaque fans while doing his goal celebration and afterward once again did the nga-nga pose with his tongue out this time, which left the fans fuming and even engaging in some trash talking at him.

After the game, Patriots team owner Joan Villafuerte-Densing was seen going to Heroes head coach Nat Gregorio, who was having a friendly chat with Patriot veteran Jemal Vizcarra, apparently to complain about Villanueva's antics.

The Parañaque fans were also seen walking into an MPBL official still present at the arena to complain what Villanueva did.

The official said to them the league will discuss if the burly forward will be meted some sanctions for his endgame deed.

Asked about his teammate's late actions, Pontejos believes Villanueva was just probably enjoying the moment, especially that it was like more of a revenge game for him after the Patriots let him go after the 2018 season.

"Siguro si Ivan, nage-enjoy lang talaga, ganun talaga siya, lalo na naka-score siya nang clutch. Baka na-carried away lang din siya," Pontejos told Dugout Philippines after the game.

Villanueva's dagger shots made up for all his five points in the game, proving that he can deliver in the end even if he is quiet for most part of the match.

It might take a while before Laguna returns home as their next games up to June 7 will be on the road, including home-and-away matches on April 25 against Pasay at the Cuneta Astrodome and on May 16 against Pasig at the Ynares Sports Arena.

So at least for two games, the Heroes—including Villanueva—would have to deal with feeling the grunt of the opposing team's home fans.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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