IT was a painful way to loss, and rookie coach Jason Webb knows reality hurts.
An obviously distraught Webb owns up to Star’s late meltdown against Barangay Ginebra that led to a heartbreaking 92-89 loss in overtime and shut the semifinal door on the Hotshots in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
Webb admitted having let his team down after the Hotshots failed to protect a seemingly insurmountable 72-54 lead early in the fourth period and a 77-72 edge with 30 seconds to go in regulation.
A steal by LA Tenorio which rookie Scottie Thompson converted into a fastbreak layup tied the game at 80-all, setting the stage for the thrilling overtime period.
“We didn’t finish the job, I didn’t finish the job,” said Webb in the dimly portion of the Mall of Asia Arena about an hour after the ninth-seeded Star’s campaign in the all-Filipino conference came to a shock end on Christmas night.
“It’s done, what is done,” he stressed. “You can’t change the result.”
The Hotshots led for the last time at 89-86 after Alex Mallari hit the team’s 10th and final three-pointer of the game.
Then the Kings went on a closing 6-0 run on back-to-back treys by Sol Mercado to tie the score and LA Tenorio’s game-winner at the buzzer that capped the latest in Ginebra’s long history of memorable comebacks.
In the end, the three-point shots converted made the difference in the hardly-fought outing as the Kings finished 11-of-39 from beyond the arc compared to the Hotshots’ 10-of-30 from the same spot.
“You can only get better the next it happens,” added Webb.
Ginebra counterpart and Webb’s former mentor Tim Cone kept on repeating how the Star coach worked ‘brilliantly’ during the game, to the point, he said, that ‘Jason outcoached him.’
But Webb played down the compliment.
“It’s not embarrassing to lose to him (Cone), but the winner is always the better coach,” said the son of former Senator and PBA player Freddie Webb.
“We’re all here in this job to win.”