By: Ohmer Bautista
In a tight game that goes down the wire, more often than not, it is the most seasoned players who take matters in their own hands. But they don’t always deliver.
Up by eight, 73-65, with only seven minutes remaining in the payoff frame, the Knights suddenly saw their scoring go adrift. With the Altas making a furious 12-0 comeback, the grizzled Letran duo Bong Quinto and JP Calvo decided to carry the scoring cudgels.
However, even their tested mettle and experience cannot find an answer to Letran’s scoring woes.
Down three, 75-78, in the dying seconds of the game, Letran forward Quinto tried to attack the teeth of Altas’ defense, only to be denied by the lanky arms of Prinze Eze. Quinto tracked the loose ball and found Calvo at the wing. The cat-quick guard shook his defender with a series of crossovers en route to the paint, but he could not throw a shot up, sealing Letran’s fate.
In spite of his veterans not coming through in crunch time, Letran head coach Jeff Napa believes that they still deserve the trust to decide their own fate.
“Ever since naman, players naman nagde-decide during the crucial games,” the third-year Knights head coach shared.
“Kung ‘yung desisyon nila ganun, hindi ko balak questionin ‘yun. Kasi dun mo makukuha ‘yung tiwala, malaki ‘yung tiwala ko sa mga ‘yun. Kung na-shoot ‘yun, ibang usapan.”
Still, despite the unwavering trust that he gives to his wards, coach Napa doesn’t ignore the fact that collectively as a team, they lacked the finishing blow and the decision-making.
“Marami rin kaming lapses sa mga nangyari,” he confessed. “‘Yung finishing, dun tayo nagkulang. Siyempre, ‘yung decision making.”
Although he does not want to reason out their loss, the grizzled bench strategist also cited the rust that they had to shrug off after the game day suspension that occurred last Tuesday due to inclement weather.
“Sa totoo lang, ang hirap mag excuse,” he bared, “pero hindi na namin iniisip yun.
“Time to move on, and focus on the next game nalang.”