ANTIPOLO — After everything was said and done, Andrei Caracut’s emotions simply flowed out to sum up the situation for himself and the rest of La Salle.
Needing a win to maintain their push for a post-season ticket in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, La Salle instead succumbed, 68-71, to University of the Philippines, Sunday at the Ynares Center.
“Wala eh. Ganun talaga — may natatalo, may nananalo,” commented the one-time UAAP champion.
“Hindi ko rin alam kung ano nangyari after ng game.. Parang ito nanaman, wala nanaman kami sa Final Four. Sayang, sayang.”
At a personal level, the game was a dismal affair for Caracut.
The former San Beda Red Cub was not his usual self. He failed to tally a point, contributed three rebounds and an assist, but then committed five turnovers throughout 19 minutes of play. Moreover, he was a minus-21 in 19 minutes of game time.
“May sakit ako since UE game… Basta after Ateneo, and then tuloy-tuloy hanggang ngayon, pero hindi ko naman ginagawang excuse ‘yun. Binigay ko naman ‘yung best ko kanina. Siguro nandun din ‘yung hina, siguro hindi lang din ako nakasabay sa game. Siguro ‘yung turnovers, siguro yun,” the 23-year-old disclosed.
“Nabigay ko naman ‘yung best ko.”
And so the final buzzer rang.
Caracut and the rest of the Green Archers were guests of the Fighting Maroons’ party while UP celebrated getting a twice-to-beat advantage for the first time in the Final Four era.
On the flipside, the painful truth was that La Salle has missed out on the post-season for the second straight year — the first time in school history.
“Alam mo ‘yun, parang binigay mo na din ‘yung best mo so hindi naman ako nagsisisi.
“Pero ‘yun nga, may mga games na sayang talaga, siningil kami sa huli. ‘Yun lang. Ganun talaga eh. Pero proud naman ako sa mga binigiay ng coaches at teammates ko,” said the 6-foot-1 swingman.
And just like that, Caracut’s UAAP career was good as done. In his five years, he earned a championship in Season 79 and a silver medal in Season 80, but failed to compete in the Final Four on Seasons 78, 81, and 82.
During that time however, he went through four coaches, namely Juno Sauler, Aldin Ayo, Louie Gonzalez, and Gian Nazario.
Perhaps one can surmise that the constant changes surrounding Caracut and his teammates led them to their situation today.
“Hindi naging madali kasi pabago-bago rin ng coaches. Lahat ng dumating na coaches, may natutunan naman ako. Hindi madali eh, lalo na pag first year ng coach tapos paiba-iba ‘yung players na nakakasama mo. Hindi naging madali pero nag-enjoy sa mga nakasama ko,” he opined.
“Sobrang dami ko rin natutunan dun sa coaches at sa mga players na nakasama ko in five years.”