With lessons learned from heartbreak, Ochea makes biggest shot of career

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 17, 2016 08:57 PM
Learning from heartbreak, Ochea makes biggest shot of career
THE HARD WAY. Dawn Ochea knew exactly what he needed to do in the decisive moment of the matchup between Adamson and Ateneo.

Clinging to a one-point lead with four seconds to go, Ateneo de Manila University played the perfect defense on Jerrick Ahanmisi and Robbie Manalang – the biggest threats to their impending win.

Little did the Blue Eagles know that having seen their perfect defense, Adamson University coach Franz Pumaren was putting the ball in the hands of his team captain.

Before that point, Dawn Ochea missed his only attempt and had little to no impact. Also, he had been sitting on the bench since the midway mark of the third.

Nonetheless, Pumaren sent in Ochea for Simon Camacho and specifically instructed him to take the shot. As the latter shared post-game, “Sabi kasi ni coach na kapag naka-deny sina Jerrick at Robbie, siyempre hindi sila (Ateneo) mag-eexpect na off the bench ang mag-iiskor.”

Rising over the outstretched arms of Vince Tolentino and launching the swishing jumper that proved to be the difference for the Soaring Falcons against the Blue Eagles, the fourth-year forward did not let Pumaren down. Nothing but appreciative of that fact, he said in his post-win interview, “Dawn Ochea made me a coaching genius.”

As it turns out, the multi-titled mentor’s “genius” went from as far back as before the start of the season. As he put it, “If I can recall, we had a particular tuneup game and we designed the same play, but in that tuneup game, Dawn was gun-shy.”

Indeed, Ochea acknowledged that he just wasn’t going to let the same thing happen again. “Yung shot ngayon, pinambawi ko lang sa shot dati. Naalala ko yung mali ko sa tuneup game na yun, parang nag-choke ako at hindi ko alam gagawin,” he said.

He then continued, “Kaya I’ve been doing that shot sa practice kaya I was confident na with that shot.”

Along with the long-time preparation, Pumaren also gave thanks to a higher being for his “magic bunot” that eventually led to Adamson’s big-time win. “It was also divine intervention. It’s very seldom that you find someone who has been sitting on the bench for quite a long stretch and, in spite of that, was able to convert,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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