IN all his years in basketball – both college and professional, Doug Kramer said his game-winning shot in Game One of the UAAP men’s basketball finals will always be at the top of the most memorable moments of his career.
The 36-year-old Kramer retired from competitive basketball this year after a 12-year PBA career. But before his professional career, Kramer spent his college years with Ateneo where he had a moment most collegiate basketball fans will never forget.
The date was September 24, 2006. University of Santo Tomas held a 72-71 lead with one second left after Allan Evangelista buried a turnaround jumper behind a packed crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
Off a timeout, Ateneo executed a well-designed play, with Macky Escalona dishing off a perfect pass inside to Kramer for the wide-open two-pointer to steal the win from the Growling Tigers.
“For sure, that’s number one,” said Kramer, when asked how that game-winner ranks among his best moments. “That propelled me to be one of the top players in the draft. That made me more noticeable, gave me a lot of confidence. Definitely, above all my PBA [games], that comes in at number one.”
The following year, Kramer was drafted fifth overall in 2007 by Air21, then played for seven more teams before ending his PBA career with Phoenix Pulse.
Kramer said he was not the first option in that play drawn by PBA grand slam head coach Norman Black, who handled Ateneo that year.
“Decoy lang ako nun eh. Coach Norman made me a decoy. The play was for Chris Tiu and Jai Reyes. But he trusted me to catch the ball even though I’ve been known my first two years in college as a butterfinger. It was God’s intervention,” said Kramer.
Despite the incredible play, the Blue Eagles lost the title series to the Growling Tigers, who had a Cinderella run when they won the UAAP crown as the third seed.
“Super,” said Kramer, when asked about the disappointment of failing to win the crown. “But I had a memorable year. The championship would have been really nice but it didn’t work out.”
Although his final season in the UAAP didn’t end with a championship, Kramer said he learned a lot from his college days and being coached by a PBA Grand Slam coach in Black.
“It’s the best years. That’s what made me become the player that I am in the PBA. Coach Norman instilled in me the values of hardwork, to rebound, and play defense, and I carried over that role in the PBA,” said Kramer.