SOME would consider Isaac Go’s crucial putback while almost seated on the floor a lucky shot.
But for the Blue Eagles big man, he’d rather call it a smart play as he threw it up to avoid a turnover - and in the process put Ateneo ahead 87-82 with only 22 ticks left in overtime, effectively putting away a very game Far Eastern University squad in the UAAP Season 80 semifinal decider.
“When I got the ball, I just put it up. Rather than (fall) on the ground, the ball might get loose, [so I] put up a shot. What’s the worst thing that can happen?” said Go, after the Blue Eagles won 88-84 to seal their place in the finals against La Salle that starts on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I trusted my teammates that if I did miss that shot, they are going to get the offensive rebound no matter what, rather than force a violation or foul, the game stops. And we were up,” added the 6-foot-7 cager.
Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga, though, couldn’t help but marvel at the composure of the 21-year-old Go in that tense moment.
“Isaac’s shot sitting down did appear to be a lucky shot. But once he caught it, you can see his focus. You can say it’s lucky but from our vantage point, you can see that he is focused on what he is going to do,” said Arespacochaga.
Go’s presence of mind was a reflection of the Blue Eagles not collapsing under pressure, according to Arespacochaga, especially when the team was down by eight in regulation before forcing overtime.
“That seemed like a lost game. But they really stayed focused. I think that was the key... Focus really helped us in the emotions of these games. Highs and lows, our focus really helped us with this win. You have to commend the boys for never losing focus,” added the longtime Ateneo assistant coach.