TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas gunner Dondon Hontiveros was a picture of confidence on the floor in overtime against New Zealand, shooting three-pointers without hesitation and oftentimes finding his mark.
But deep inside, the baby-faced Cebuano assassin admitted his confidence was shot going into the game.
"I wasn't feeling good about my shot at all," the 37-year-old Alaska veteran told the international media after the 92-88 Gilas win over the Kiwis . "I missed a lot of shots and sometimes, even if I was open I didn't want to shoot because I was thinking I might miss again."
The numbers bear him out.
Hontiveros, a year older than New Zealand playing-coach Kevin Braswell, had made just four of 18 shots from the three games he previously played while going just 0-of-2 in the Gilas loss to Iran on Thursday.
He wasn't even shooting it well in the first three quarters against New Zealand, going 2-of-6 from two-point range and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc before finding his touch just in time in the extra period.
For that, he thanked coach Tab Baldwin.
"Malaking bagay 'yung suporta ni Coach Tab," he told Spin.ph later. "He told me to keep shooting, that a shooter must keep shooting, at malaki ang nagawa nun sa confidence ko."
The PBA veteran never once hesitated in the four three-pointers he launched in overtime and was just as confident as he stood at the line for two free throws with a chance to wrap up the victory.
The last time he stood at the foul line with a game on the line, Hontiveros airballed one free throw attempt, allowing San Miguel to escape with a victory over Alaska in Game Two of the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
That thought, he said, never crossed his mind.
"I was completely focused," he said. "Wala akong naisip na ganoon. All I was thinking about was I needed to make those two free throws."
True to form, he swished both.