This time around, Isaac Go made it count against Ben Mbala

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 26, 2017 05:05 PM
This time around, Isaac Go made it count against Ben Mbala
GO TIME. Isaac Go had another clutch basket as Ateneo took Game 1 from DLSU.

With Ateneo de Manila University holding onto a three-point lead with under 20 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Thirdy Ravena had Isaac Go with a good look near the basket.

And so, Ravena passed the ball to Go and the latter made good on a short stab – even with the defense of Ben Mbala and Kib Montalbo all over him.



He also made good on the free throw that came with the foul from it.

That and-one proved to be the icing on the cake that was the Blue Eagles’ big-time Game 1 win.

This was a complete turning of the tides from when Go missed a semi-hook that could have very well changed the result in the Katipunan-based squad’s loss to De La Salle University to end the elimination round.

Then, they were down by one with 12.6 ticks to go on the clock and perfectly executed the play drawn up by coach Tab Baldwin as inbounder Anton Asistio had a wide open Go near the basket.

And so, Asistio inbounded to Go.

The good look turned bad, however, and the six-foot-six got bothered by an oncoming Ben Mbala.

The semi-hook, a shot he usually makes good on, missed and not long after, Mbala and the Green Archers completed a comeback win.

For the 21-year-old, however, this was never about his redemption.

Rather than talk about his big shot, he gave all the credit to Ravena’s assist. “I guess it’s just trust again. Thirdy passed me the ball to show that we don’t care who scored the crucial baskets,” he shared.

He then continued, “We’re just looking at it na, at the end of the day, it’s two points for Ateneo.”

It wasn’t just on offense that Go made a mark, though.

In fact, his more important contributions were at the other end where he, together with Chibueze Ikeh, shackled down soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Mbala to a career-low eight points and three turnovers. “You saw that a lot of us got into foul trouble and coach had to go deeper into the bench, but everybody stepped up, everybody was ready to play,” he shared.

He then continued, “That’s how we’re more mature, that’s how we’re better.”

Indeed, how the Ateneo centers held their own against DLSU’s Cameroonian powerhouse was a big part of their big-time win. “I thought it was telling that Mbala and [Abu] Tratter played 57 minutes (combined) and had eight fouls then Ikeh and (Isaac) played 38 minutes (combined) and had nine fouls and we consider that a victory somehow,” coach Tab Baldwin said.

He then continued, “That’s crazy to think of as some kind of victory, but when you play La Salle, it is.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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