MARC Pingris stood behind Allein Maliksi for missing one shot too many, any one of which could’ve won the game for Star in regulation in its 97-90 overtime loss to Alaska in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Wednesday night.
Maliksi led the Hotshots’ comeback, scoring 11 of his team-high 15 points in the final frame, the last one on a three-pointer that knotted the count at 86 with one minute and 23 seconds left.
But the Hotshots gunner failed to convert on two more open three-point attempts and one two-point shot that kept the door open for the Aces, who finished the job in the extra session.
While he felt he was in a good position down low to take a higher-percentage shot at the time of Maliksi’s contested mid-range jumper off his own miss with three second left, Pingris defended his teammate.
“Good shot naman eh. Pwede ko naman i-shoot yung last shot, but may trust naman ako kay Allein at open naman,” Pingris said. “Ang dami naming shot na pwede na kaming manalo, pero talagang hindi lang pumapasok.”
Asked if their misses were credit to the Aces’ defense of their own doing, Pingris had no definite answer, although saying the Hotshots were the first to fold.
“Hindi ko alam, pero ang masasabi ko, kami yung unang bumigay,” Pingris said. “May mga pagkakataon na pwede kaming manalo. Sila (Alaska) lang talaga yung nakatira sa huli.”
“Tama yung sinabi ni coach nung practice nung December pa lang na hinala niya na fifty-three minutes kami maglalaro at kung sino unang bumigay, talo,” he added. “Kaya nagkatotoo nga.”