IT took some angry words from coach Chito Victolero for Aldrech Ramos to finally take matters into his own hands.
Given the license to shoot, Ramos did just that and nailed a clutch three-pointer from top of the key as Star survived a frantic San Miguel Beer comeback, 109-105, in the opener of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Saturday night.
The Hotshots’ stretch 4 sank the game's biggest basket inside the final 15 seconds of Game One to stop cold a Beermen side that was in the midst of a dazzling endgame run that cut down a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to 105-104.
Prior to the game-winning play, Ramos was reprimanded during a timeout by Victolero after previously hesitating to shoot the ball despite being the open man.
“Yung first time, hindi ko tinira parang nag-tentative ako nun. So sabi ni coach, 'Kung libre ka itira mo,'” said the big man out of Far Eastern University.
“Nung nakita ko yung pangalawang chance, grinab ko na. Luckily naman, na-shoot siya.”
Ramos finished with 11 points – eight in the second period – and grabbed four rebounds. He ended up going 3-of-6 from the three-point range to help Star take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Victolero did admit admonishing not only Ramos but his entire team for being tentative during that huge Beermen rally down the stretch.
But he was particularly hard on the 29-year-old Ramos, the fifth overall pick during the 2012 rookie draft.
“I told Aldrech, the reason he’s there (is because) I want to spread the floor,” the Star mentor said.
“I told them (Hotshots) after the timeout na if you’re open, shoot it,” Victolero added. “And Aldrech responded to my challenge. He shot the ball and he shot with confidence.”
Ramos cherished the moment, saying, “Ang sarap ng feeling na ganun, kasi nakaka-boost ng morale yun sa team namin.”
The Hotshots hope to carry that mindset on Monday when Game Two of the series is played at the Mall of Asia Arena.