MIKEE Reyes readily took the blame for the loss of University of the Philippines after missing two pressure-packed free throws in the dying seconds of its UAAP men’s basketball game against Ateneo on Wednesday.
Never mind even if it was him who was responsible from rallying back the Maroons that gave them the chance to win the game in the end.
“Kapag sinulat niyo, sabihin niyo ako ang nagpatalo,” Reyes told reporters in an interview inside the UP locker room following the team’s heartbreaking 70-69 loss against the Eagles.
Reyes had 15 of his 19 points in the final quarter and gave UP a chance to pull an upset against the highly-favored Eagles when he was sent to the foul line for two free throws with 0.8 seconds left and the Maroons trailing by one.
But he later admitted the trip to the foul line was a harrowing experience especially after he thought he was supposed to shoot three free throws.
Reyes was fouled by Chris Newsome after a step back jumper, but replays showed he stepped on the line for an outright two free throws.
“Honestly, I thought I had three free throws,” Reyes recalled.
“The first one, everyone was saying na minadali ko daw. Pero that’s how I shoot free throws. After two dribbles, I take it.”
“I told myself, (make) one of two. Tapos ang tagal. Nakatayo lang ako sa free throw line. Siyempre the crowd was getting into you. And then, when the referee whistled, he pointed one finger. Sabi ko, I thought I have two. Sabi ng ref, isa lang.
“It was a big, choking experience for me, and I’m not going to deny that,” Reyes admitted.
The loss was a heartbreaker for the Maroons, who has yet to win after breaking a 27-game losing streak against Adamson at the end of the first round.
A bigger celebration could have been set had the Maroons won over the Eagles in the ‘Battle of Katipunan’ had Reyes made at least one free throw that would have send the game into overtime.
But UP coach Rey Madrid said Reyes should not be blamed for the loss saying, “He was the one who brought us there.”
“You can say everything about, ‘I exploded in the fourth, ako ang nagdala, without me we wouldn’t be in this position. But at the end of the day, I missed two free throws and I lost the game for the team.
I think if I say na I agreed, that shows na hindi ako focused na okay na sa akin ‘yun na we are in the position to win,” said Reyes.