KG Canaleta hoping Mahindra will learn to play at crunch time before it's too late
KG Canaleta is a picture of disappointment on the Mahindra bench. Jaime Campos

NIÑO Canaleta is hoping Mahindra can finally learn to stay composed at crunch time after absorbing a 104-99 setback at the hands of Meralco in their playoff for the fourth seed in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs on Wednesday night.

After losing to the Bolts by three points in their last game of the elimination round, the Enforcer faced the same team and squandered a 16-point lead on the way to falling short anew in their playoff for a last twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

“Itong last two games namin against them matututo na kami,” Canaleta said. “Kasi lack of maturity talaga, sa endgame kami nadadali.”

The Bolts denied the Enforcer of a win-once advantage, an incentive they had four chance of grabbing thanks to a surprising start that saw them win their first four games and clinching their first-ever postseason berth early in the conference.

“Hindi naman imposible. Beatable naman sila (Meralco),” Canaleta said. “Kaya naman. Konting push pa.”

[See Meralco frustrates Mahindra anew to earn twice-to-beat edge]

Canaleta registered 10 points on 2-of-6 shooting – all from beyond the arc, along with two boards, one assist, and one steal in almost 22 minutes off the bench in his first game back after undergoing appendectomy.

“Yung timing wala pa, yung hangin, yung stamina wala pa,” admitted the streak shooter, who’s had a week and a half of practice under his belt. “Siyempre, matagal akong nawala so yung rhythm ko nag-aalangan pa ako tumira and yung confidence ko.”

“Nagpapa-sub din ako kasi nahihirapan pa rin ako,” he added.

But Canaleta expects to regain his usual form on Saturday when the Enforcer face the Bolts once again in their quarterfinal matchup.

“Makukuha ko na timing ko,” he beamed. “Kasi mabilis ko lang din naman makuha timing ko kahit na long break nakaka-recover ako agad mga two to three days okay na ako.”

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