Back in Game Four of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals last Wednesday, Jake Pascual was one of the Alaska Aces five inside the court who applied the finishing touches to their 90-76 win over the Magnolia Hotshots.
Two nights later, however, his end-game magic faded.
Come Game Five, Pascual overcooked his lay-up off a Kevin Racal miss with less than 25 seconds remaining, leading to an opportunity for Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang to connect on a three-point play with 18.7 seconds to go.
The Aces were able to regain the lead courtesy of Mike Harris’ charities with 11 seconds to play, but Paul Lee came in the clutch as he sank a leaning jumper off an offensive board to put Magnolia up with 1.3 ticks left.
Alaska lost, 78-79, and are now on the verge of losing the series.
“Nangyayari talaga sa game yun. Breaks of the game. Sila nakakuha sa dulo. Na-stop namin first play nila, scramble na lang sa bola. Nakuha ni Paul. Alam niyo naman si Paul ‘pag tumira ‘di ba. Dagger,” said Pascual, Lee’s former teammate.
“Pero ‘di lang naman yung play na yun yung titignan natin sa larong ito eh. Marami pang play na nangyari before that.”
It may have been a bad night for Pascual because of missed lay-up, since he could have given the Aces a four-point cushion. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the four-year veteran has been providing solid minutes in this series.
Pascual was averaging 4.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, a steal and an assist each in the first four games. His best performance was in Game Four, where he finished with nine markers, five boards, and two dimes.
The San Beda product even started Game Five.
“Sabi ko naman, alam ko role ko sa team namin. Ginagawa ko lang ng mabuti sa practice at sa game. Kumbaga yung role ko gagawin ko lang ng tama. May mga instructions naman si coach. Masaya naman ako,” said Pascual.
“Willing akong gawin yung role ko sa team para makatulong manalo. Ayun, nag-work out naman, nakita nila coach siguro talaga yun kaya nilagay nila ako sa first five. Very thankful ako sa mga teammates, nagtutulungan kami.”
The Aces’ backs are now against the wall, since one wrong move could spell the end of their hopes of winning their first title since 2013. But for them, they’re just looking at the positives from the loss to bring into Game Six.
“Sabi nga ni coach, one game at a time,” said the 30-year-old.
“We look for the positive side, which is na-limit namin yung second half nila compared sa bad start namin. Laki ng binigay namin nung first half, pero nung second half na-limit namin ng almost kalahati ata,” added Pascual.
“Yun na lang yung positive. Focus na lang next game.”
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