CALOY Garcia admitted being humiliated by Rain or Shine’s heartbreaking 107-105 loss to NorthPort in overtime Wednesday night in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game that saw the team lose grip of a huge 25-point third quarter lead.
“I feel embarrassed after that loss. It’s really embarrassing,” said Garcia, groping for words following the setback at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elasto Painters had no one to blame but themselves, according to the coach.
“I think you can say that there some players who relaxed on defense kasi we built the lead because we pressured,” he said. “What we did for the first three quarters when we pressured them, they did it to us in the fourth. And I think that was the story of the game.
"Ang feeling ko our guards today nung prinessure noong fourth (quarter), nawala yung stability namin.”
Mo Tautuaa, Garvo Lanete, and rookie Robert Bolick conspired in that big NorthPort comeback, combining for 33 of the 37 points the Batang Pier scored in the fourth quarter alone.
Bolick, who had eight of his 22 points in that stretch, hit a pressure-packed three-pointer with 11 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime, 100-all.
Rain or Shine import Denzel Bowles had the chance to ice the game for the team with 25 seconds left in regulation when he was sent to the foul line and the Elasto Painters holding on to a slim three-point edge.
But the former Best Import muffed both free throws that opened the door for that Bolick three-pointer.
“If Denzel was able to make one free throw, then we could have won the game. But that’s part of the game. Maybe he was tired,” said Garcia of his import, who played without relief in 53 minutes and finished with 41 points and 21 rebounds, but committed 10 turnovers.
Garcia gave credit where it was due, paying tribute to a resilient NorthPort side which played with only eight players a day after trading away star player Stanley Pringle to Barangay Ginebra.
“That’s why they are on top right now. They deserved to be on top especially coming back from that 25-point lead. They just showed the character that they built right now even after losing Stanley,” said Garcia of the Batang Pier.
“I think they’ll become a better team with the arrival of those three players (Sol Mercado, Jervy Cruz, and Kevin Ferrer).”
More than the Batang Pier, Garcia said he has his team to think of right now especially after losing its third game in five outings following the sorry setback.
“But right now, I have to think of my team first, on how we can improve, on how we can get better,” he said.
“Hopefully, we learned a lot after this game.”