La Salle Green Hills suffered a heartbreaking loss to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Game One of the NCAA Season 98 Juniors Basketball Finals. Despite their best efforts, they fell short with a final score of 81-85.
One player who felt particularly frustrated was Grade 12 senior Luis Pablo. He admitted to committing crucial mistakes throughout the game.
Pablo’s lapses proved costly, as they allowed Letran to take the lead and ultimately secure the win. However, he refused to let his mistakes define him and vowed to bounce back.
After all, the 18-year-old, 6-foot-7 big man played his heart out, posting impressive stats of 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting, 19 rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and an assist.
“Kailangan po talaga namin mag focus, kailangan po namin mag focus kasi pansin ko po parang wala sa focus ‘yung karamihan po sa amin parang stats na po ‘yung hinahabol namin. Kasi ito pong finals na ‘to once in a lifetime opportunity na po ‘to ang hirap naman po na… dahil sa pagkakamali po namin, sa pag hindi namin pag focus, pag wala na po kami sa disiplina bigla po… ‘yun po magbabayad po kami,” said the native of Imus, Cavite.
“Kaya ‘yun nga po mag usap kami na kailangan po talaga namin mag focus kasi alam naman po namin ‘yung takbo [ng game plan]. ‘Yun nga po nakaka-frustrate kasi alam po namin ‘yung gagawin namin pero hindi namin ginawa which is mag focus, kumalma sumunod po sa gameplan na binigay ni coach [Renren Ritualo] which is na hindi namin ginawa.”
Despite his valiant effort, key players on the team, like Seven Gagate and Rod Allian, got into foul trouble, limiting their effectiveness in the second half. The team’s lack of focus and discipline also contributed to their defeat.
Pablo recognized the need for the team to regroup and refocus, particularly on their next game plan. He stressed the importance of staying patient and disciplined, as head coach Renren Ritualo had emphasized.
“So, ‘yun po next game goal namin is to siyempre, win po. Pero, kailangan pa po namin mabuo ‘yung team kasi parang pansin naman po kanina sa court parang lahat po naghiwa-hiwalay na parang hindi na po kami isang solid na grupo, parang lahat po kami may kanya-kanya ng mindset eh,” Pablo expressed.
“Magkakaiba na po ‘yung mindset namin na kita po sa court eh parang ilan na lang po sa amin ‘yung talagang lumalaban na tipon kahit po… kahit bad game, siyempre, laban pa rin [dapat].”
Looking ahead to Game Two, Pablo and the rest of the team have a chance to fix their teamwork and come together as a solid unit. They know they must stay focused on their main goal and avoid making the same mistakes that cost them Game One.
Despite the loss, Ritualo commended Pablo for his leadership and contribution to the team, particularly when Gagate was benched due to foul trouble.
Game Two will be the deciding factor in whether La Salle Green Hills can still take home the championship or not. The pressure is on, but with a renewed focus and determination, Pablo and his teammates are ready to give it their all and come out on top.