WITH a little over a minute left in the third quarter, seldom-used Lyceum forward Jeffrey Santos chased after a long pass which, at first glance, looked certain to sail out of bounds.
Santos, however, was able to chase the ball down, save it from going out of bounds and lob a pass to Mike Nzeusseu who finished the play with a finesse lay-up to give the Pirates an 80-64 lead.
Pandemonium ensued among the sea of red at the Filoil Flying V Arena – and it was just the beginning.
What followed was a string of beautiful plays from the in-form Pirates, who executed to near-perfection on the way to a 109-85 win over Letran and a return to the NCAA Season 94 Finals against nemesis San Beda.
“It’s magical. It’s like, para kang nananaginip, di mo alam na totoo pala. You have to, sometimes, I think, we have to keep reminding ourselves just to be at the moment,” said Robinson, who was left in awe by the Pirates' play.
It was nothing short of a dream game for the Pirates, who just last week looked bad in suffering a 75-68 loss to San Beda in the battle for the top seed heading to the playoffs.
This time, the Pirates already had 81 points, 13 more than their total output against the Red Lions, with a full quarter to go. They made 14 of 30 three-point attempts and shot a healthy 54.7 percent from the field.
Defensively they were just as aggressive as they forced the Knights to 22 turnovers while holding them to a terrible 39 percent shooting clip.
“I never even dreamt of this game, what’s important is how we take care of the now, we keep on playing, we keep on doing what we’re doing, regardless what the score is,” Robinson said.
The key, Robinson said, was the Pirates reinforcing their trust in one another on the eve of the Final Four. Instead of holding practice last Thursday, the team simply talked in an impromptu team-building session.
“Again, at the end of the day, it’s really, the love for each other that is really important. Love conquers all. Cheesy might be the word but if they know that you love them, and they know that they love you, magic comes,” he said.
“There’s trust. We keep on reminding them that it’s not about the wins but how we’ll work together as a team,” he added.