DOUG Kramer hit the game winner for Phoenix as the Fuel Masters eased past the TnT Katropa, 74-72, on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup.
More than the offense though, the veteran big man was prouder of his defense, especially after drawing the difficult task of taking on former league MVP Kelly Williams.
After giving the Fuel Masters the lead in the final three seconds, Kramer forced Williams to shoot over his outstretched arms in the game’s final play, the ball going in and out of the ring at the buzzer as Phoenix beat TnT for the first time since acquiring the Barako Bull franchise two years ago.
“More than that shot, it was a lot of the defense,” said the 34-year-old Kramer afterwards. “That’s my role with the team, to be able to get my teammates open, play defense, and rebound. Offense just comes as a bonus.”
But the big man out of Ateneo was active on the offensive end as well on this night, shooting 4-of-6 from the field to finish with eight points that went with his seven rebounds and two assists.
Actually, the Fuel Masters’ final play was not really drawn up for him but for birthday boy Matthew Wright.
“I was just reacting to the defense. I was gonna set a ball screen for Matt, but my man left me to double Matt so I just released the pressure off Matt and then he made the right play on releasing it (the ball),” Kramer recalled of the crucial play
“In my head there was like four, three seconds, so I had to rush it, parang quick release na lang siya that went in,” he said of the game-winning basket which teammate Jeff Chan good-naturedly described as the ‘bicep-boom shot.’
In a way, it was also reminiscent of the game-winner which Kramer delivered during Game 1 of the 2006 UAAP Finals between Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas.
“Similar yeah, tight ballgame, quick release shot underneath,” he said of the same play he made 12 years ago. “Very surreal and a nice feeling.”