Nick Demusis surely made Rudy Hatfield proud.
The 6-foot-4 utility forward made a shot so similar to what the ‘H-Bomb’ had done several years ago as Phoenix Super LPG battled NorthPort in the playoff for the last PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal berth, Sunday night.
It happened with around 3:40 remaining in the third quarter, with the Fuel Masters in the midst of a rally after being down 15 early. RJ Jazul overshot a triple from the left corner, but the ball went to Demusis near the rim.
The rookie, however, failed to secure the rock, with Batang Pier guard Robert Bolick trying to get the possession as well. Ball went loose, yet Demusis didn’t give up on the play and dove for it, outhustling another foe in Kevin Ferrer.
That’s when the shot of a lifetime came about.
Lying just inside the half-circle underneath the rim, Demusis tossed it up to the rim. The ball bounced near the back iron before falling through, much to the delight of the entire Phoenix crew — and the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
That shot was just one of the many highlights that took place in the match, which saw the Fuel Masters come out on top by way of a 101-98 decision to become the eighth and final team to reach the next round.
Head coach Topex Robinson offered that Demusis’ magical deuce was just proof of how much the Fuel Masters wanted to win, which they did to return to the playoffs after falling short in the 2021 Philippine Cup.
“It’s just a representation of how much this team wants to win, amidst every challenge that we came up to,” said the young mentor shortly after the game. “We talked about the 50-50 balls, and winning it.
“Nick Demusis just exemplified how to win games, how much he wanted [it], because he dove for that ball, nobody to pass to, tried to shoot the ball and made that shot. Credit goes to these players.
“They just don’t wanna give up,” he furthered.
Demusis may be remembered for a while due to that shot, but he actually made the most out of the opportunity he was given. He did play for less than six minutes, but finished with four points, two rebounds, and two assists.
The Fuel Masters’ 18th overall pick in the last Rookie Draft was just one of the many contributors in the season-saving win, together with the likes of RR Garcia and usual suspects RJ Jazul and Jason Perkins.
“They wanna play for each other,” said Robinson.
“And we talked about the ‘we’ shot. In these types of knockout games, it’s always gonna be about the ‘we’ shot that’s important, not a ‘me’ shot. So, as long as we’re just sharing the basketball, a lot of good things will happen.”
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.