PERPETUAL Help coach Aric Del Rosario refused to blame on top gunner Scottie Thompson for his crucial turnover and missed free throws near the end of the Altas’ 81-83 loss to five-time defending champion San Beda in the NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday.
Thompson finished with 20 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block, but shot just five-of-13 from the foul line during the game - and missed five charities in the final two minutes alone.
Making matters worse, Thompson committed a crucial turnover in the end that sealed the Altas’ fate.
With 5.3 seconds left and the Altas down by two, Thompson’s inbound pass went into the hands of San Beda’s Michole Sorela, who buried two free throws to clinch the victory for the reigning champions.
Thompson politely declined to be interviewed by mediamen after the game, but Del Rosario came to the defense of his top player, saying even veteran players commit mistakes at times.
“Hindi naman siya puwedeng sisihin dun,” said Del Rosario. “Hindi naman niya gustong mangyari ‘yun. Okay lang ‘yun. Bawi na lang sa next game kasi kung pagagalitan mo pa ‘yun, (baka mawalan ng kumpiyansa).
“Magkakaroon talaga ng pagkakataon na beterano ka, mage-error ka,” Del Rosario added.
As for the missed free throws, Del Rosario said fatigue played a role as his prized playmaker was rested for just a minute in the 40-minute contest.
“Siguro pagod na rin. Biro mo, kanya bola, dumedepensa, rume-rebound, umaatake. Kumbaga, pasan niya ‘yung hirap eh. Kasi ‘yung mga point (guards) namin, hindi nagde-deliver. Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Scott, ikaw na muna,'” said Del Rosario.
The veteran mentor said San Beda definitely showed its experience in the endgame, something that is still lacking with the Altas, who dropped a second straight game for a 4-2 win-loss slate.
“Siguro sanay sila sa mga ganung sitwasyon. ‘Yun ang kulang namin, ‘yung experience namin sa close game,” said Del Rosario.