CORRECT! Isaac Go could have very well won the game for Ateneo.
With Ateneo de Manila University down by one with 12.6 ticks to go on the clock, Anton Asistio found Isaac Go open near the basket.
And so, Asistio inbounded to Go.
Still a step or two away from his comfort zone, the six-foot-six center moved closer.
Sensing reigning and MVP Ben Mbala closing out on him, however, Go was bothered just enough to botch a short stab.
Not long after, the Mbala and De La Salle University completed a 79-76 comeback at the expense of the Blue Eagles.
Talking about that missed opportunity, the 21-year-old said, “I think I just tried to make the best basketball play at that time. That’s just what I did.”
According to head coach Tab Baldwin, Go wasn’t really who they were looking for in that decisive play. “He actually wasn’t the first on that play, but he was exactly where he was supposed to be. I think it was a great inbound pass from Anton to find him because we were really looking someplace different,” he told reporters post-game.
Still, the Ateneo mentor said his big man did whatever he could in that situation – especially with the Cameroonian powerhouse doing what he did. As he put it, “You know, Ben is just such a force in these games and he recovered so quickly from being out of position. I think Isaac made the right play cause I think of going straight up where Ben has been blocking shots, he shot-faked.”
He then continued, “So then, he had a contested shot, but I think he made the right shot and he just missed it.”
And so, Baldwin said he had no problems whatsoever with that botched short stab. “So what? We’ve missed a lot of shots, we shot 40 percent for the game. Any one of them could have won the game, but they didn’t go in,” he said.
He then continued, “They executed the play, that’s all I can ask (for). Whether you finish or not, it’s just what happens in the moment.”
Go is nothing but thankful that his head coach still has full faith in him. “He trusted my judgment there that I would make the best possible basketball play so I’m not really regretting the shot. It would have been nice if I made it, but that’s the best basketball play I could have done at that moment,” he said.
However, that clear mind was not yet with the Blue Eagle big at that moment. Talking about how he showed so much frustration after that missed opportunity, he said, “I think it’s a lot of mixed emotions and I think that shows my immaturity.”
Good thing that there was also coach Sandy Arespacochaga to keep his head in the game. “Coach Sandy just told me to keep your head up, the game is not yet over. I’m a young player, but immaturity can’t be the excuse,” Go shared.
He then continued, “That is something I still have to learn. Those are what great players who make great plays in the end do.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.
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