Webb praises Hotshots for pushing SMB to their limits
No one can deny that Star had nothing to be ashamed of a despite losing in the 2016 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.
Facing the best team in the league in San Miguel, the Hotshots gave their all and nearly pulled off one of the greatest upsets in PBA history.
Star stunned San Miguel Beer, 108-99, on Monday to force a rubber match and on Wednesday, the Hotshots held an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter in their do-or-die game before dropping a heartbreaking 103-99 decision.
“That’s a really good team out there,” a proud Star head coach Jason Webb said. “We gave [San Miguel] a run for their money. A couple of looseballs went their way and they made championship plays. But I’m very proud of our guys. We battled until the end, but it was the breaks of the game.”
“Here’s the thing, we’re one game better in the eliminations, one game better in the playoffs. This is what I told my guys, ‘What we’re doing right now is not a revolution, it’s not going to be overnight. It’s going to be an evolution, so we got better. It maybe slow, but we got better. We had an opportunity to make it a revolution by making it to the semifinals, but we’re getting better.’ That’s our battlecry everyday. And we did, but it wasn’t enough today.”
Also, compared to the team’s forgettable first conference together, Webb said he’s already seeing signs of progress from his team this time.
“Guys just believed in what we’re doing. Even though we’re an eight-seed, we felt we’re a better eight-seed. With Ricardo (Ratliffe), we only lost two games in the elims. We probably could have won this one but a couple of breaks didn’t go our way,” he said.
“Forget the eight-seed. We could’ve won this game,” Webb noted. “Our guys are really buying to each other, you see that on the court, it’s a different atmosphere when we play now. That’s the most important thing. We don’t care about seeding. It would’ve been nice for the papers to say that the eight-seed beat the number one team, but we’re always out there trying to win every game regardless of our seeding.”
Webb praised his players for their efforts and said had a couple of possessions and rebounds gone the Hotshots’ way, the result would’ve been different.
“I just love the way the guys fought back. Eighth seed, tied in the last two minutes, but we just had a couple of defensive rebounds that we were not able to clear and loose balls that we were not able to get. Andun na eh, konti na lang. That was anyone’s game. Credit to San Miguel because they are doing the things that you need to do to win as much as they have.”
With the conference now over and almost three months away from the third conference, all Webb wants from Star is to stay the course and continue moving forward.
“We don’t look at the past. We’re looking at the present and we plan for the future. Whatever happened in the past is the past,” he said. “Right now, I just want to make sure that we’re with our guys and we go through this process as a team.”
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