College of St. Benilde head coach Charles Tiu used the word ‘frustrating’ to describe their Game One appearance in the NCAA Season 98 Seniors Basketball Finals.
When they were just starting to take over the game in the third period, one by one, the Blazers players fell to the hardwood due to cramps.
“It was a bit frustrating, to be honest
“We felt we were really on the game. We felt we were making a run, we were building the lead then everybody cramps up. And as you said, [Migs] Oczon played two minutes,” said CSB’s head tactician.
“[Miggy] Corteza cramps up in the third quarter; [Will] Gozum cramps up in the third; [Robi] Nayve cramps up in the third,” he continued. “It’s tough to win games without your key players.”
Tiu also pointed out another lopsided aspect of the game – the overwhelming free throw attempts that the Knights took this game with 26 compared to the Blazers’ 11.
And to make things worse, CSB just couldn’t convert their handful of freebies, only hitting four of them.
“I think they got the free throw a bit too much. They had 26, we only had 11, and they’re more physical than us. And we couldn’t make our free throws either, so that didn’t help. Free throw namin di makashoot, sila they had dalawang lucky bounce pa sa free throw, tumama pa sa taas ng board,” he said.
“Parang the basketball gods wanted them to win the game today, but we still competed.”
The youthful coach also gave credit to Letran, who is used to the pressure of the big stage. They showed how composed they can be, especially in the final minutes of the ball game.
“They are a championship team for a reason,” said Tiu. “So I don’t know why everybody, even Coach Bonnie even said kami and favored. No way kami ang favored.
“You can see they are so ready for this moment, while my guys are kind of panicking and getting a bit out of focused, and in the big moments it is something that you can’t teach and they have to experience. So hoping next game maybe they calm down a bit more.”