AS good as Jake Pascual has played for the past two games in this 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals, there are still small miscues which he wishes he could take back.
To wit, his missed undergoal stab in a wild sequence with 20 seconds remaining which could have given Alaska a four-point buffer in Game Five.
Pascual was there for the putback off a Kevin Racal fastbreak layup miss, but went short on his try. Paul Lee then caught the defensive rebound and raced down the court to set up Ian Sangalang for the three-point play that gave Magnolia the 77-76 lead with 18.7 seconds remaining.
Though the Aces were still able to get the lead back off a pair of Mike Harris freebies, Lee eventually brought down the hammer with his baseline winner with 1.3 ticks left as the Hotshots took the all-important Game Five win, 79-78 on Friday.
"Nangyayari talaga sa game yun eh. Breaks of the game," said Pascual, who collected six points, five rebounds, and two assists in the tight loss.
The 30-year-old forward, though, was quick to shrug off the pain of the defeat, admitting that Magnolia was just the better team that day.
"Sila ang nakakuha sa dulo. Na-stop namin yung first play nila, nag-scramble na lang sa bola, tapos nakuha ni Paul. Alam niyo naman si Paul pag tumira, di ba? Dagger eh, nakuha niya. Breaks of the game talaga ang nangyari. Kahit sino ang manalo, deserving naman," he said.
Pascual, however, knows that the chances are still there for Alaska to lay claim to the crown, starting next Wednesday for its do-or-die Game Six at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
And a positive thing the Aces can take away from the past two games has been Pascual's breakout performances, reminiscent of his vital roles in the San Beda championship teams in the NCAA.
For the 6-foot-4 bruiser, it's all a matter of him knowing his role in this loaded Alaska squad and finding a way to contribute to the team's cause.
"Alam ko ang role ko sa team namin at ginagawa ko lang ng mabuti yun sa practice at sa game. Kumbaga yung role ko, gagawin ko lang ng tama," he said.
"Masaya naman ako kasi at least, yung sa experience sa championship games, para sa akin laro lang din yan, basketball lang yan. Willing akong gawin yung role ko sa team para makatulong na manalo at nagwo-work out naman. Nakita nila coach siguro talaga yun kaya nilagay nila ako sa first five and very thankful naman ako kasi nagtutulungan lang talaga kami ng mga teammates ko."
That's why Pascual and the rest of the Aces aren't losing hope and rather, are raring to get back on the court come Game Six.
"Sabi nga ni coach, one game at a time. We'll look for the positive side which is na-limit namin yung second half nila compared sa bad start namin. Yun na lang yung positive and focus na lang kami next game," he said.