UAAP Finals: You want redemption? Let Isaac Go show you what redemption is all about

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 03, 2017 08:04 PM
UAAP Finals: Let Isaac Go show you what redemption is about
Isaac Go has redeemed himself and has come through for Ateneo not once, not twice, but thrice

Ateneo de Manila University was, at one point, one miss away from a clean sweep of the elimination round of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Down by one with 12.6 ticks to go on the clock in their last assignment in the eliminations, the Blue Eagles perfectly executed the play drawn up by coach Tab Baldwin as inbounder Anton Asistio had a wide open Isaac Go near the basket.

The good look turned bad, however, and the six-foot-six Go got bothered by an oncoming Ben Mbala. The latter’s semi-hook, a shot he usually makes good on, missed and not long after, the former and De La Salle University completed a comeback win.

That prevented a clean sweep of the elims for Ateneo.

Come the semifinals, however, as they were duking it out in a do-or-die game with Far Eastern University, Go redeemed himself and came through for his team.

Staring at a three-point deficit with 14.5 seconds remaining, Baldwin designed a play for the 21-year-old Go who did not let his mentor down.

That triple for Go saved the Blue Eagles and sent the game into overtime where Matt Nieto took over en route to an 88-84 win.

Then in Game 1 of the Finals, the sweet-shooting big man again redeemed himself and came through for his team.

With the Katipunan-based squad holding onto a three-point lead with under 20 seconds left, Thirdy Ravena passed the ball to Go near the basket which the latter then sent to the bottom of the net – even with the defense of Mbala and Kib Montalbo all over him.

He also made good on the free thrown that came with the foul from the play. That and-one proved to be the icing on the cake that was their big-time Game 1 win.

And yet, second-year center Go wasn’t done yet with redeeming himself and coming through for his team.

As Ateneo was trying to fend off defending champion Green Archers in the winner-take-all Game 3, it was again Go who buried the booming triple that proved to be the dagger that bore right into the hearts of their archrivals. “Coach Tab said you shouldn’t think of anything when you shoot so when I released the ball, I just let it fly. That shot is the combination of years of practice and exercise and reps,” he said afterward.

And so, in just less than a month, he missed a shot that could have, would have, and should have given the Blue Eagles a clean sweep of the elims only to then redeem himself and come through for his team not once, not twice, but thrice.

For Baldwin, there wasn’t even any question that those shots deserved to come from the hands of Go. As he put it, “When a young man works his tail off to earn something, he deserves trust. If he missed those shots, it would’ve been like, ‘So what, we’ll win another way,’” he shared.

He then continued, “He isn’t a superhero because he made that shot. There was just a job needed to be done and he could do it.”

Yes, that ground-bound, rice-loving Blue Eagle has three big-time shots that will always be remembered as big parts of Katipunan’s first championship since 2012.

Still, he said his shots were just part of all of Ateneo’s climb back to the mountaintop. “The shot is just one aspect of five years, it’s just one moment. You have to take the joy in making the most of the five years you have in Ateneo,” he expressed.

Apparently, as Go has proven on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights, it’s never about how you fall, indeed, but about how you stand up – not once, not twice, but thrice.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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