NCAA 95 Finals: Kailangan kong mag-comeback -- Oftana

Mark Escarlote on Nov 15, 2019 08:42 PM
NCAA 95 Finals: Kailangan kong mag-comeback -- Oftana
Calvin Oftana made sure his late-game basket will see the bottom of the net as San Beda University tied the Finals series at one game apiece. (Josh Albelda)

Calvin Oftana knew that it was just unfortunate that he missed a potential game-winner in Game 1.

Given another chance in the crucial moments of the second game of the best-of-three NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball Finals series, the San Beda University star made sure that this time it would find the bottom of the net.

The season’s Most Valuable Player nailed the game-tying basket and the go-ahead bonus free throw with 19.1 seconds left as the defending champions Red Lions extended the Finals showdown against Letran, 79-76, on Friday in an exciting windup at the MOA Arena witnessed by an 18,407-strong crowd.     

“Nice comeback by Calvin,” said a relieved San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “I’m happy that he made his shots late in the fourth.”

Down by two, 76-74, with under a minute left, Oftana drove hard to the basket off a James Kwekuteye pass and sank an and-one basket after drawing a foul from Bonbon Batiller.

Oftana calmly made his bonus shot to put the Red Lions on top, 77-76.   

“That ball nu’ng natanggap ko sabi ko, ‘Ikaw na bahala rito, Lord.’ Yun lang talaga ang sinabi ko sa isip ko, ‘Lord, ikaw na bahala rito,’” said Oftana, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. “Luckily napasok ko foul-counted and siyempre kailangan natin ang freethrow para lumamang kami ng isa.”

His heroics brought the momentum back on the Mendiola-based squad’s side. A good defensive stop and Kwekuteye’s security foul shots sealed the win for San Beda.

For Oftana, his late-game explosion erased the bitter memory of that missed triple at the right elbow in the waning moments of Game 1 that saw the Knights escape with the win and hand the Red Lions their first loss of the season.   

“Di ako nadismaya sa sarili ko na yun ang laro ko. Bad game. That’s my game. Off day namin, 6 out of 40 sa three-points. After nung last shot ko na di pumasok, inisip ko ready na kami sa Game 2,” said Oftana.      

 And he made sure that he’d get his redemption.

“Kailangan kong mag-comeback kasi sobrang sama ng laro ko sa Game 1 kailangan namin tong game na ito and nanalo kami. We’re ready for Game 3,” he said.

Game 3 is on Tuesday at the MOA Arena.



Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

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