DONDON Hontiveros was hard on himself after going scoreless and airballing a crucial free throw late in Alaska’s sorry 103-95 loss to San Miguel in Game Two of the PBA Governors Cup Finals Sunday night.
Still shaking his head upon emerging from the Aces’ dugout, the 36-year-old Cebuano hotshot did not mince any words in blaming the loss to his ‘non-contributions’ in the game.
“Of course not (I am not happy), obviously ‘yung missed three points and ‘yung crucial free throws I missed,” Hontiveros while scratching his head.
“I blame myself for this. Sinabi ko rin yun sa mga teammates ko kahit hindi pa tapos ang game kanina. Even during the game, sabi ko: 'I'll make it up next game,'” he added.
Hontiveros was obviously not in his element as he finished 0-of-2 from the field and had the same stats from the three point arc and free throw line.
Asked if there is something or someone bothering him, Hontiveros shook his head.
“Wala naman (nagba-bother sa akin). Okay naman ‘yung rotation ko. Maganda naman ‘yung playing time ko pero makikita mo kasi ang ganda ng close out nila, ang ganda ng defense nila. I am scared to close out (attack) hard, kasi andun si June Mar (Fajardo),” he said.
Hontiveros said he also wants to repay the coaching staff for its full support behind him despite struggling to play his usual game.
“The coaching staff has always been believing in me - in us, sa mga players na pinapasok nila. Kami siguro we just have to be ready and I have to play a better game,” he said.
The former University of Cebu stalwart also apologized to Alaska fans as he vowed to come back stronger next game.
“Sa mga fans, hindi pa naman huli. We still have a chance. Kahit 2-0 sila (San Miguel), anything can still happen, dati nga ako sa team ko, we were up 2-0, natalo pa,” he recalled.
The many time national player bared he knows himself more than anyone in the league, vowing to come back stronger in Game Three.
“I've missed many times sa career ko, nung birthday ko nga last year, nag turnover ako, we had the chance to win it, freethrows - I missed also but the good thing is we have the chance to get it back,” he said.
“The good thing is hindi naman ito yung last game. We have a good chance sa Wednesday. I wasn't there the last three minutes, But I promise to be there next game,” said Hontiveros.
Aside from his an forgettable offense, the 12-time All Star was also the designated defender of San Migel streak shooter Marcio Lassiter, who buried the back-breaking three pointer in the final minute of the game that gave the Beermen the lead for good, 98-95.
Hontiveros explained the part of their defensive strategy that left Lassiter open.
“We're trying to trap Alex (Cabagnot) that time eh. Maganda lang yung basa talaga ni (Arizona) Reid to look for the open guy eh. Natapat lang sa akin, even if si (Chris) Lutz yun, we have to challenge them,” he explained.
“We have to give up something eh. We have to give up the penetration of Alex and then focus sa penetration ni Reid,”
He added, “Maganda yung basa nila. They were on the right spots, proper spacing.”
The approachable cager also declared that he's been through a lot of off-night performances and has several times taught himself to bounce back stronger.
“Ang abangan is how you rise up from this kind of challenge, this kind of game. It's not yet over,” he said.