Jojo Lastimosa on Taulava, Alas' failure to call a timeout: 'It happens to anyone'
NLEX sophomore Kevin Alas failed to call a timeout and, worse, turned the ball over in the final moments of a 95-97 loss to the Star Hotshots. Jaime Campos

IT happens even to the best of 'em.

NLEX assistant coach Jojo Lastimosa admitted the failure of veteran Asi Taulava and sophomore Kevin Alas to call a timeout in the waning seconds cost the Road Warriors the game against Star Hotshots Sunday in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.

The Road Warriors coaching staff, though, wasn’t about to point a finger or blame anyone for the heartbreaking 97-95 loss, the team’s first in three outings in the season-opening tournament.

“One of those bonehead plays from our players which happens to anyone,” said Lastimosa afterwards.

[See Star benefits from late NLEX blunder to get back on winning track]

The cage legend said there were instructions from the bench to call a timeout with eight seconds to go and Star’s James Yap about to shoot two free throws with the Hotshots clinging to a 96-95 lead.

Yap surprisingly missed both foul shots, with the rebound going to Taulava.

To the horror of the NLEX bench, the 42-year-old big man didn’t call a timeout and instead passed the ball to Alas who, in turn, didn't sue for time and instead streaked downcourt, eventually losing possession on a strip by Justin Melton.

The Road Warriors made a duty foul on Melton to stop the clock with a full second left. The Star shooting guard split his free throws for the game’s final count.

“Of course there was instruction (to call a timeut),” said Lastimosa. “But Asi failed to call timeout, and Kevin failed to call timeout. So that’s it.”

The NLEX deputy mentor disclosed though how remorseful Taulava was for the endgame blunder.

“He apologized naman that it was his mistake,” Lastimosa said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos