Cliche as it may sound, but Niño Canaleta felt that there was really something special about to happen for him when Blackwater played Star on Saturday.
“I really felt different approaching the game. Maybe it was time for me to step up to help the team,” he said in Filipino.
True to his gut, the 35-year-old went on a blaze from the get-go, torching the Hotshots with 27 points on a 7-of-12 shooting from threes.
Unfortunately, he went ice cold in the fourth quarter and was left scoreless as Star also went out of its way to deny Canaleta the shots he’ had been getting in the first three quarters.
“They didn’t give me any space and I wasn’t able to be open. I also was tired at that point,” he said.
That proved to be the downfall for the Elite as they suffered a 96-90 loss to the Hotshots.
Canaleta didn’t hide his disappointment as his stellar scoring outing went down the drain with the defeat.
“It’s really unfortunate. Everyone did their best, but we encountered problems in the end game,” he said. “I think it’s better if we focus on the things we did right all throughout the game because it’s important for us to stick to our gameplan in the fourth quarter.”
Though Blackwater stumbled to another loss and fell to a 1-6 card, Canaleta said that the key for the team now is to learn from its mistakes as it licks its wounds during the All-Star break.
“We’re there contending. It’s just that teams get ahead of us early and we face issues of maturity late,” he said. “We should take the All-Star break as a time for us to tune up our engines. We just have to be positive and continue working hard because we still can make a run to the playoffs.”