Published October 4, 2023 4:52pm
Updated October 4, 2023 4:52pm
Paolo Hernandez may be credited with the dagger basket that allowed Mapua University to escape De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, but the third year gunner said it was the whole team that knocked down the shot.
Hernandez pulled up the jumper over the defense of Miggy Corteza to give the Cardinals a slim 72-71 lead with only 21.9 seconds left to spare. He then buried three freebies to ice the game as Mapua copped its third win in four games.
Prior to all that, Migs Oczon hit a wild triple that sent Benilde back to the driver’s seat, 71-70. But the Cardinals remained unfazed as Hernandez’ late heroics proved more crucial.
“Para sa amin naman, hindi naman na bago ‘yung mga gano’n na shots ni Oczon and hindi rin bago sa amin ‘yung mga gano’ng sitwasyon so we just stay composed lang and nagtiwala kami sa coaches,” Hernandez said.
“‘Yung shot ko na ‘yun ay dahil din sa mga teammates ko, sa assist ni Clint, sa boxout ng mga big man, especially Jopet Soriano.”
“‘Yung shot na ‘yun, kami lahat ‘yung tumira.”
(For us, those shots of Oczon are not new and it’s not new for us to be in that kind of situation so we just stay composed and we trusted the coaches. That shot of mine was because of my teammates, Clint’s assist, boxout of the other big men, especially Jopet Soriano. That shot was from all of us.)
The win over the Blazers meant that Mapua improved to 3-1 while sending the former to a dismal 1-3 start. And Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara said it was a good bounce back win for his squad, especially after falling to Jose Rizal University last Sunday.
Alcantara highlighted that they will need all the wins they could pick up given how level the NCAA field is right now.
“Sabi ko ‘yung talo namin sa JRU dapat maibalik namin against Benilde at magkaro’n kami ng sense of urgency and nag-respond naman ‘yung mga players,” he said.
“Kailangan namin na makabangon agad kasi ‘yung mga kalaban namin pare-pareho lang na malakas.”
(I told them that our loss against JRU, we should bounce back from that when we face Benild and have the sense of urgency. The players responded. We need to recover as soon as possible because our opponents are strong.)
—JKC, GMA Integrated News