ANTIPOLO CITY – Although concerned about his import on a month-long fasting in observance of Ramadan, Jojo Lastimosa had nothing but good words for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for putting everything on the line in a Game 2 heartbreaker for TNT.
Despite abstaining from eating and drinking anything before and during the game, Hollis-Jefferson came an assist short of a triple-double, which unfortunately, went for naught as the Tropang Giga lost to the Meralco Bolts in overtime, 124-117, that tied their PBA Governors Cup semifinals series at 1-1 Sunday at the Ynares Center.
The former NBA player obviously no longer had his legs late in regulation and in the overtime period as he missed a couple of clutch free throws and the game on the line.
Nonetheless, he finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists in 45 minutes of play.
He didn’t drink water until the homestretch of the fourth quarter as he kept on monitoring the time of the day with a personal watch placed on the scorer’s table.
“Yes he is (on a fasting). Hindi naman nagbabago yan, e. One month pa siya magpa-fasting,” said Lastimosa when asked about the import’s condition as action in the playoffs goes deep.
“Yun nga ang concern ko sa kanya how long will he last in a high-intensity game like that? But you know, he’s fine. Ok lang naman siya,” added the TNT coach.
Lastimosa also doesn’t see Hollis-Jefferson’s fasting as reason for him missing those crucial free throws in the endgame.
“It happens. Who wouldn’t want to make those free throws? Na-miss lang talaga. Ganun lang talaga ang buhay,” said the TNT mentor.
“He already played 40 plus minutes, dapat lang mag-drag na siya ng feet niya. And I have to overextend Jayson (Castro), si Roger (Pogoy). But you know, that’s the playoffs. Pagdating ng playoffs, wala ng pahinga-pahinga.”
Instead, Lastimosa credited Meralco for playing with a lot of urgency, especially import KJ McDaniels who topscored for 39 points and Aaron Black, who equaled his career-high with 28 points.
“Not to take anything against Meralco but they played their hearts out. They played like a really desperate team tonight. And it showed in their efforts,” added Lastimosa.