IN a display of champion’s mentality, both Alex Cabagnot and June Mar refused to make a big fuss over a non-call on Rafi Reavis' stepping violation late in Game One of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots led, 105-103, when Cabagnot missed on a jumper in the final six seconds. Reavis got the rebound and abruptly called for a timeout, although replays showed one foot was stepping on the baseline when he signalled for a timeout.
But shortly after a review by officials, the ball remained with Magnolia and led to Jio Jalalon trooping to the foul line for two free throws, which the sophomore guard both missed.
Cabagnot, who almost came through with a triple double of 27 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, said the Beermen can't dwell on that single non-call by the refs, crucial as it may be.
“Those are just part of the game. We can’t dwell on that at that moment kasi meron pa kaming many seconds na maglalaro,” the veteran point guard stressed.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo agreed with his teammate, saying those are breaks of the game.
“Hindi naman perpekto yung refs, eh. Wala na yun, past na, natawag na” added the four-time MVP. “Hindi na natin mababawi. Move on na lang, and bounce back.”
As Cabagnot pointed out, San Miguel still had a shot at winning or sending the game into overtime after Jalalon missed both his free throws.
Unfortunately, the Hotshots played good defense on San Miguel’s final play as Reavis smothered Arwind Santos’ jumper from the top of the key to complete the upset win.
“I don’t think the game came down to that (non-call on Reavis),” said Cabagnot. “I think the game came down to losing our lead.”
San Miguel led by as much as 72-52 in the third period, but found the Hotshots a tough customer as they rallied and outplayed the three-time title-holders down the stretch.
Like Fajardo, Cabagnot said Game One is already in the past.
“Sana we can go back and be more collectively and comfortably know what we were doing para hindi na mangyari uli,” he said.
“It’s a best-of-seven series and they played a great game. We just have to go back to the drawing boards para makita namin yung mga mistakes and the lapses that we had.”
Game Two of the series is set Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.