NARDS Pinto solidified his reputation as one of the PBA’s top perimeter defenders today as he tried his best to stay in front of Myles Powell in Barangay Ginebra’s conquest of Bay Area in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
But the 32-year-old playmaker also had a chance to show his clutch offense, only to fall short.
After all, Pinto had a couple of open three-point shots that just missed their marks late in Game Six of the Gin Kings’ 87-84 loss to the Dragons that dragged the best-of-seven series to a deciding game.
Nards Pinto on chance to be Game 6 hero
“Ang dami nga nagsabi sa’kin, ‘Sikat ka na sana nung Game Six.’ Ang reply ko, ‘Sikat pa din naman; ang daming nagba-bash,’” Pinto said with a chuckle on SPIN Zoom In.
“Syempre may mga times talaga na hindi naman natin (ma-shoot). Mga open kasi, pero hindi pumasok,” the former Arellano star added.
With Ginebra down by just one, 83-82, Pinto saw himself open twice beyond the arc, but missed both his shots inside the last five minutes as Powell scored on a layup on the other end to give the Dragons enough breathing room to pull off the escape act.
Nevertheless, it set the stage for a historic deciding game at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan where 54,589 fans came in attendance to witness the Gin Kings roll to a 114-99 win to take the crown over the guest team.
“Siguro nga para makapag-break ng record tayo sa Game Seven sa Philippine Arena,” Pinto said.
Pinto, the Davao native who’s on his eighth year in the league, admitted having doubts when Ginebra failed to finish off Bay Area in Game Six as it gave the Dragons another chance to regroup.
“Syempre naman, kasi after nun, 50-50 ball yun eh, yung Game Seven,” Pinto said. “Hindi kasi madali yung Bay Area eh. Sobrang lalaki, sobrang skilled nung mga player nila. Even nung natalo nga kami nung wala silang import.”
“Sobrang gagaling eh, even yung mga hindi masyado ginagamit nung elimination, sobrang gagaling din eh,” he added.
But Pinto knew the record crowd was behind them.
“Pero buti na lang, nandyan nga yung Sixth Man namin tsaka grabe yung preparation namin, kaya nakuha namin yung Game Seven,” he ended.
Watch the full SPIN Zoom In episode with Nards Pinto below.