MANILA, February 4, 2004  (STAR) By Joey Villar - Peter June Simon might have bagged the coveted Most Valuable Player plum but it was Jerkules Tangkay who played like the true MVP last night.

Hours after getting edged in the individual race by Simon, Tangkay fired 24 points as he powered Welcoat to a 60-53 victory over Fash Liquid Power yesterday to move closer to the PBL Platinum Cup crown at the jampacked Pasig Sports Center crowd.

Tangkay highlighted his explosive stint with five triples that shut the lights out of Fash while giving Welcoat a big psychological 2-1 edge in their best-of-five title showdown.

The Paintmasters try to wrap up the series in Game 4 tomorrow, also in Pasig City.

"Umiyak talaga ako nung nalaman ko na hindi ako ang nanalong MVP," said the soft-spoken Tangkay, who had brief stints with Sta. Lucia and Talk N’Text in the PBA.

"Pero okay lang kahit hindi ako ang nanalo basta mapag-champion ko lang ang team ko masaya na din ako," he added.

While Tangkay went berserk with that two-dozen output, Simon played as cold as ice and intriguingly wound up scoreless.

After torching the Paint Masters with 26 markers in Fash’s 84-80 double overtime win last Saturday, Simon fired nothing but blanks, missing all his 11 attempts in 34 minutes of action.

Francis Mercado tried to step up for the Liquid Power but his 14-point effort was not enough to lift the team past the very squad which swept it last season.

"We wanted this game really badly. We wanted to make up for what we failed to do in Game 2. I’m so happy my players responded to the challenge," Welcoat coach Leo Austria said.

Welcoat’s win, however, was overshadowed by Chino Trinidad’s resignation as league commissioner at halftime. (See separate story)

All but Paul Artadi, Ervin Sotto and James Yap, teammates of Simon in Purefoods, had stickers on their jersey, saying Tangkay was the MVP instead of the Fash hotshot.

"They did it on their own because they believe Tangkay is the MVP," said Caloy Garcia, one of Austria’s Welcoat assistants.

Raymund Yu, one of Welcoat’s team owners, said he was surprised by Trinidad’s resignation and said he had nothing to do with his players’ decision to put stickers on their uniform.

"I can’t comment yet, I want to celebrate this victory first," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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