ALVIN Pasaol's historic night for University of the East went for naught as La Salle survived his 49-point explosion with a 106-100 victory in UAAP Season 80 on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But as Pasaol, together with coach Derrick Pumaren, entered the pressroom to cheers and applause from media men - he knew that it was still a feat worth celebrating.
After all, with UE still winless after six games, it won't hurt the Red Warriors to celebrate small victories like Pasaol's scoring explosion.
“Wala rin akong masabi. Siguro nilaro ko lang yung best ko, yung hinihingi sa akin ni Manong na best ko,” said Pasaol who actually had a chance to go for 50 but missed his second free throw with 55.6 seconds to go in the game.
“Wala, pagod na rin ako,” he added with a laugh on the flubbed freebie.
Pasaol definitely deserved a breather as he made 20-of-30 shots from the field, to go with eight boards and four steals to complete the best offensive performance in the UAAP in 15 years.
The last time a player notched 40 points or above was back in 2002 when now Letran coach Jeff Napa – then a star player for National University – scored 43 points against Adamson.
Pasaol’s performance was so impressive that Pumaren was just lost for words and can only joke around his star forward’s performance.
“Alvin was awesome tonight. Five less pounds he could have scored 60,” said Pumaren.
“But he really played well. My hats off to Alvin. First time I coached a local that scored to 49. He really gave us a show tonight. I was really praying he gets 50 but we’ll take 49,” he added.
The veteran head coach credited Pasaol’s way of imposing himself amid being a little bit ‘heavier’ and that deceptiveness is actually working to his favor
“He’s a player na you will underestimate dahil parang medyo malusog, ayoko sabihing chubby, malusog lang. Medyo maraming relaxed muscles, ganun. Pero kaya nya. Makikita mo he’s a small forward that I’m using to create mismatches sa other teams,” Pumaren said.
“And you can see hindi naman sya ganung kataas but he’s there always for the rebound, he’s quick on the ball, probably he’s got long reach. And he can score inside and he can score outside. That’s one good thing about him,” he added.
What’s even more impressive is that Pasaol injured his right ankle early in the first quarter but it still wasn’t enough for La Salle to stop him as he went hot from all areas of the court.
“Siguro nag-stick lang kami sa gameplan namin nila manong. Mas maganda yung execution namin ngayon. Sa mga teammates ko rin hindi ko rin makukuha yan na wala sa teammates ko.”
With a game left into the first round and facing a UST squad on Saturday which is also yet to win a game – Pasaol is expected to do whatever he needs to nab that elusive win.
If it means scoring 50 this time around, then so be it.
“Pag di na po na-injured. Hopefully makabalik natin sa 50.”