WHAT was supposed to be a night of jubilation turned bloody for Globalport Batang Pier coach Junel Baculi.
Frustrated after his team lost what was supposed to be another won game, no thanks to Meralco gunner Sunday Salvacion's three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer, the fiery mentor vented his ire on the white board inside their Smart-Araneta Coliseum dugout which he smashed with one big punch.
The Globalport coach with the sleek hair and tootbrush moustache suffered cuts and bruises on his right fist. Still, Baculi said the pain in his busted hand is no match to the pain and anguish he felt after Salvacion nailed the game-winning three-pointer that completed Globalport's utter collapse.
“Mas masakit namang di hamak yung pagkatalo namin sa naging sugat ko ... Malayo!” said Baculi when contacted by Spin.ph.
“I got so frustrated, nasuntok ko yung whiteboard. Nakakasama rin kasi talaga ng loob kasi pinaghirapan mo yung game plan mo ... Tapos panalo na, natalo pa,” he added.
It was not the first time in the PBA Commissioner's Cup the Batang Pier, now 2-3, lost a game where they held a big lead near the end. They also dropped a 88-98 overtime decision to Barako Bull on February 10 when Mark Macapagal hit a desperation trey at the buzzer to force extra time.
“We could have been 4-1, as of now. Except for the Talk 'N Text blowout (loss), okay kami di ba? We gave away two games,” rued Baculi.
Despite the anguish and the pain, Baculi has called on his players to turn the heartbreak into a positive.
“Syempre, sabi ko look at the positive na lang, bumawi kayo for me. We still have nine games. It’s not yet the end of the world,” bared Baculi. “Tignan natin kung ano ang next development."
“Sana mag-stick na kami sa game plan. Yung last defensive stand namin, I told everybody to man the shooters of Meralco especially the three-point shooters, pero nangyari pa rin yun (Salvacion three-pointer)," he added.
And his advice to his players sounded intriguing enough.
“Learn from it, go over it. Please don’t let it happen again," Baculi said. "Bumawi kayo sa next games. Kawawa yung ibang nagpapakamatay sa team natin.
“Unfair talaga sa ibang nagpapakahirap na players, yung iba sa kanila kinakausap ako."