ANTIPOLO – RK Ilagan was clueless on why he missed two free throws down the stretch that could have helped Converge deal defending champion TNT a second straight upset loss in the PBA Philippine Cup.
For a player who had been clutch for the FiberXers just a game ago and had hit a big jumper just moments earlier, Ilagan was left searching for answers after missing the two free throws that let TNT off the hook.
“Ewan ko, hindi ko rin masabi,” said the sophomore guard, his head covered with a towel while speaking softly and pondering on Converge’s 86-83 defeat to the Tropang Giga Sunday night at the Ynares Center.
It wasn’t only from the foul line that Ilagan struggled.
He wasn’t actually making his shots from the floor, going 1-of-6 from the field for the entire game, with his lone field goal coming in the final 22 seconds that gave his side an 83-82 advantage.
If there was any consolation, it was the fact that coach Jeff Cariaso still fielded him in the stretch run despite his shooting struggles.
That’s the reason why he was confident he’ll be able to knock down those two free throws when he finally stepped on the line.
“Malaki ang kumpiyansa ko kasi pangit ang laro ko pero ipinasok pa rin ako ni coach sa ending,” said Ilagan, who had to be consoled by deputy coach Franco Atienza before he left the playing venue.
“Yun nga lang hindi ko na-shoot yung free throws. So bawi na lang next game.”
After TNT’s Jayson Castro and Brian Heruela gave him some words of advice at the end of the game, Ilagan also heard some encouraging words from Jeff Cariaso.
“I told him to keep his head beyond those free throws. He’s really feeling bad about the free throws,” said Cariaso.
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