By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

(Photo courtesy of Anadolu) 

MANILA – Boston is back at the National Basketball Association (NBA) zenith after clinching their 18th championship in the league by pipping Dallas, 106-88, in Game 5 of their championship series on Tuesday (Philippine time) at the TD Garden in Boston.

Denied a series sweep in Game 4 on Saturday in Dallas, the Celtics made sure the Mavericks would not get another game in the series by limiting them to only 18 points in the first quarter.

Boston then virtually sealed the championship by the second quarter after erupting for 39 points to open a 67-46 halftime lead.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics, who won the championship exactly 16 years after the last time they won it all, with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.

“It means the world. It’s been a long time. And damn I’m grateful,” Tatum said.

Jaylen Brown, who was then named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the championship series, added 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.

Amid the quick debate as to who should be Finals MVP, Brown shared the stage with Tatum upon receiving the award, saying, “I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum.”

Aside from breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers as the winningest NBA franchise title-wise, the Celtics also set some modern-day NBA history as their head coach, Joe Mazzulla, became the youngest coach to win a title since Bill Russell, doing the playing coach role, led them to the 1969 title.

“You have very few chances in life to be great,” the 35-year-old Mazzulla said.

Luka Doncic made 28 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, which finally dropped a Game 5 this playoffs after going 3-0 in the earlier rounds.

With Boston finally securing the championship in five games, teams up 3-0 in a best-of-seven NBA playoff series are now 157-0 in terms of clinching them. (PNA)