EXACTLY a year after hitting the buzzer-beating three pointer that sealed the championship for the Siargao Legends in Marikina's DeLeague Cup, Willie Miller reprised his role with FEU-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation in a game against Hobe Bihon-Cars Unlimited.
The two-time PBA MVP hit the go-ahead three-pointer off a broken play with 35 seconds remaining to lead FEU-NRMF to a 63-60 win, frustrating the Mark Young-owned Hobe ballclub which looked poised for a big victory in the battle of top teams.
Miller's big basket bailed out the Nino Reyes-owned ballclub, which saw its 23 points lead disappear after a Hobe comeback led by former PBA cagers Bonbon Custodio, Roger Yap and Erick Dela Cuesta.
“Kailangan kong ipukol 'yun, broken play na 'yun. Nakakita ko ng opening, tinira ko. Before that may fadeaway ako, sumablay. Ginamit ko lang experience ko kasi may pressure na sa kalaban,” said Miller, one of the top attractions of the league organized by Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman.
FEU-NRMF coach Cris Bautista made the critical adjustment in the crucial stretch by filling in Miller for another former PBA guard Froilan Baguion.
“Pinagpahinga ko si Miller then nung nakita ko na nauubos na yung oras, dun ko na pinasok. And I am happy kasi he delivered the killer blow, just as I expected him to do,” said Bautista, an assistant coach of La Salle Greenhills in the NCAA juniors.
“I am well aware that Miller still has what it takes to win games. So we had faith in him. And he delivered, as always,” he added.
Aside from Miller who finished with nine points, FEU-NRMF stars Leo Avenido, Bright Akhuete and Prince Eze combined for 37 points while Custodio spearheaded Hobe with 23 points.
The win propelled FEU-NRMF, also supported by D-Top custom socks, to solo leadership of Group A with a clean 3-0 win-loss slate as Hobe dropped to solo second with a 3-1 card.
In the other game, Sta. Lucia Land handed Macway Travel its first loss in the tournament with a nail-biting 82-79 win in Group B action.
Former PBA reserve Erick Rodriguez paced the Realtors with 25 points while Nino Marquez led Macway with 24 markers.
Philippine Christian University (3-1) now leads Group B after beating PNP-Quick Print.
See video highlights of the game: