FAR Eastern University guard Jasper Parker took responsibility for the defensive gaffe that gave Ateneo big man Isaac Go the space he needed to make the three-pointer that sent their thrilling Final Four match to overtime on Wednesday night.
Parker was on his way to becoming the hero for the Tamaraws in the sudden-death match as his left-handed layup and two free throws gave them a 75-72 lead with just seconds remaining at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But in the ensuing play, Parker failed to heed the coaches’ instructions to switch on the screens, allowing Go the chance to make the three-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
Ateneo went on to win, 88-84.
“It was supposed to be a switch and that was my fault for not knowing. I thought it was supposed to be switch on just ball screens but it was everything so therefore I’ll take fault for that,” shared Parker, who led FEU in scoring with 19 points.
“I just had a miscommunication in the endgame and was supposed to switch that last hand-off and ended up staying on my man instead. I felt like that was my fault and could have changed the game,” the 5-foot-9 guard added.
Instead of preparing for the finals, Parker and the rest of the Tamaraws now find themselves looking at a long offseason. But Parker says the loss would motivate him and his teammates to work on their individual games and return with a vengeance in Season 81.
“Well, I just got to get back to the grind and work on things that I lack and just move on from there. My rookie season was not too bad. I felt like a progressed throughout the season and that’s all I could really ask for,” Parker said after a season that saw him start slow but eventually flourish with averages of 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
“Things happen for a reason and that loss was something we need to learn from. But nonetheless I’m proud of what we did and I won’t hang my head over it,” he continued.