It’s time to shift focus guys. Obviously, free throw shooting is a problem of the team that will cost us games in a tight contest. Let’s face it. We are not a good free throw shooting team, PERIOD. Specially in the clutch. There is no strategy involved in free throw shooting and it seems that no matter how hard the team practices, come game time, when the chips are on the line, it just isn’t there. So I say, if you can’t beat this problem, then work around it.
Therefore, what is more important is that we have a cushion in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Maybe we can shift gears a little here and employ a faster game in the fourth. We still have the material to do it, moreso now with the likes of Jeron, L.A., and even Yutien Andrada, who is turning out to be a franchise player for us.
Let’s be fair to those missed shots of Jeron. We won the battle of the T’s (Tengs), but we lost the war from the FT’s (Free Throws). If we break this game down to its minutest details, we ouplayed UST in every aspect. Only two guys were keeping them in contention. (Their import Abdul, and their gunslinger Tata Bautista. We on the other had had everything. Balanced scoring, rebounding (we outrebounded the no. 1 rebounding team in the league mind you), and organization. Then because of his fresh legs, Aljun Mariano just took over for UST.
The score at halftime was 30-29. This was OUR game. Low scoring. If we could have kept it low the rest of the game, then we might have won. But the second half was a shoot-out. UST even raced to a 10 point lead at the far turn of the game. But true to our never say die Animo spirit this season, we are never out of it. True enough, we came shooting back.
We also had a lot of bad luck. The last play of Revilla was just 0.100 of a second too late. But even in overtime, we did not fold. We kept in step. Until those free throw misses. If you watched the game live and had our very good courstside angle, you would have seen Jeron Teng adjusting his stance at least two inches further from where he usually stands from the free throw line, during the second extension period. But he missed both free throws. Tha sealed our fate in this game.
In a heartwarming moment after the game, brother Jeric, the gun twirling Tiger borther of Jeron, approached a very distraught Jeron sitting and weeping on the bench. It was after all, just a game. And it should be treated as such. Personally, I was very entertained (save for an unruly Atenean fan in front of us who seemed to be very anxious of UE and shouted “tama na yan, one big fight na!” directly at our bench.) . It’s part of colors of the game I guess.
I would have loved for us to win, but we didn’t. I think we also need a bit of luck the rest of the season. So far, luck has been kind to us. But I believe that everything evens out at the end, and lady luck will smile on us in the second half of the tournament. In the meantime, just enjoy our team. They are giving us a very entertaining season so far. They put themselves in a position with a chance to win, and even if we don’t, our frustrations are not like last years, where our showing was really pathetic. Growing pains, as the Green Mind put it. Specificaly, growing pains for Jeron Teng. Guess what? Jeron is a SUPERSTAR. He will eventually be a dominant force. All it takes is perseverance. And a little bit of luck.