Holding to a precarious 89-88 lead with 7.1 seconds left in regulation, Meralco only needed to make an inbounds play to book its ticket to the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
Chris Newsome surveyed the floor and tried to get the leather to one of his teammates against the suffocating defense of TNT import Joshua Smith. Pressed for time, the sophomore swingman had to make a decision and threw the ball to the foot of the burly reinforcement.
However, the ball didn’t bounce the way he envisioned as it simply rolled on the floor, prone for Jayson Castro to secure the steal and give the KaTropa one more chance. Jared Dillinger immediately fouled Castro on the break, which led to a split from the line to tie the game at 89 and force overtime.
Though the game still went to extra five minutes, that sequence seemed to have taken the air out of the Bolts’ sail as they bowed to the KaTropa, 104-96, and out of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“It was a turnover. They got the ball, we fouled, they made a free throw and tied the ballgame. And in overtime, we relaxed, that’s how it affected us,” admitted Newsome.
While it was easy to pin the blame on the reigning Rookie of the Year for his end-game miscues, he believes it was the accumulation of those bad decisions which let the Bolts down.
“It’s just a bad decision, just one those bad breaks of the game. I tried to hit it on his foot and hope it goes out of bounds, but it rolled back in. Probably it’s just one of those breaks and you can’t control that,” he said. “I felt like everybody understands that it was breaks of the game. If anybody wants to blame me for it, then sure. Of course I know I’m responsible for what happened or at least for the things that I can control. Everything else I can’t control.”
“Those are just a few possessions in the game that I can control. How many possessions happened in the game? All those mistakes add up. Perhaps you can blame it on the last possession, or you can look at the game as a whole and see a lot of the things that we did wrong,” he said.