FOR Go for Gold team captain Jai Reyes, his potential game-tying three-pointer was really fouled, which could have changed the result of Game One of the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals.
With 8.4 seconds left and the game on the line, with the Scratchers trailing the Revellers, 96-99, Reyes missed the game-equalizing triple as he fell down after colliding to defender Jason Melano, who rushed his way to challenge the shot after eluding the screen of Gab Banal.
The 5-foot-7 Reyes, Banal, and the entire Go for Gold team were asking for a foul but they didn’t get it as Chris Bitoon eventually sealed the come-from-behind 100-96 Game 1 win with a split from the free-throw line last Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“I don’t know, I don’t wanna get fined but that’s the call they’re making all-season long,” Reyes said. “Before the game, they always talk to team captains right? I’m the team captain of Go for Gold, ‘yan ‘yung parating number one na sinasabi ng referee, landing spot. Landing spot.”
“I didn’t even have any landing spot during that shot that’s why I had to fall down so I felt that should have been a foul so I don’t know,” he added.
Reyes, who avoided fouling out with five fouls, admitted that Jeff Viernes, who made 27 of his 34 points in their second half comeback, was unstoppable. But he insisted that the referees changed the way they called the game, especially in the payoff period.
“Shinootan ako ng shinootan ni Jeff nung fourth quarter. I felt like nandoon ako pero talagang nasushoot niya eh,” the 31-year-old Reyes said. “I don’t wanna make any more comments about the refs, I felt that they changed the way they called the game when we were up big. That’s what I always tell them be consistent, be consistent. Because it’s tough to guard the leading scorer of the league for the whole game.”
“And I’m guarding him like that for (27) minutes then the fourth quarter they’re gonna change how they call it. So what? I’m gonna adjust for those last plays? Ayun na nga I tried to adjust binigyan ko ng konting space, ilan na ko five fouls na ko, pero nasushoot talaga niya eh,” he added.
As they cannot undo what happened in the series opener, the Ateneo standout, who finished with 11 points, four assists and three rebounds, admitted that he has to limit his turnovers the next game.
“I feel like I just have to play the same way the next game but limit the turnovers talaga,” said the 2005 UAAP Rookie of the Year, who committed five turnovers including the last-second miscue when he lost the ball off the dribble.
But for the skipper, the Scratchers really lost steam in the second half and played not to lose in the fourth quarter allowing the Revellers to steal the first blood.
“Lahat ng talo namin this season, apat na talo, ganyan same same. I think when we get the lead our problem in the fourth quarter we play not to lose,” he said. “We stop attacking and that’s the strength of our team, we’re trying to just milk the clock, execute. And that’s not us, we have to keep on playing the same way all 40 minutes.”
Despite the heartbreaking Game One loss, there is no time to grieve for Reyes and the Scratchers as they move on and try to equalize the best-of-five series in Game Two on Tuesday next week.
“By tonight, by tomorrow wala na tapos na ‘to e. That’s how serieses go, this is not a three-game series, this is a five-game series so Game 1 is just one game ang problema lang ang sakit ng talo na ‘to,” he said. “The positive side is alam namin na kaya namin sila lamangan ng malaki. So ‘yun lang, you know, be pissed right now and then get over tomorrow.”