UAAP: Yes, Santi Santillan's last shot was what La Salle wanted

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 21, 2018 09:36 PM
UAAP: Yes, Santillan's last shot was what La Salle wanted
La Salle coach Louie Gonzalez had the perfect play that could have snatched away a win

De La Salle University was 63 seconds away from the Final Four in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Green Archers were up by four, 70-66, late in their knockout bout for the fourth-seed up against Far Eastern University on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Unfortunately for them, Ken Tuffin and Arvin Tolentino connived to put the Tamaraws on top by one.

Still, the Taft-based team had 3.1 ticks to win the game and head coach Louie Gonzalez drew up a perfect play that had Aljun Melecio lobbing an inbound right to Santi Santillan who was positioned below the ring.

It was a play that, apparently, was already planned in advance. “Actually, I know naman, malakas yung pakiramdam ko na this game will be decided hanggang sa last play. Kaya talagang ang dami kong baong inbounds [plays] e kasi malakas yung pakiramdam ko na aabot talaga sa puntong yun,” he told reporters post-game.

While they prepared for that point in time, though, lady luck just wasn’t smiling on them on this day as Santillan was able to put up a shot, but the ball only hit the right side of the ring before falling out.

And so, FEU barged into the Final Four while La Salle bid bye-bye to the tournament.

Nonetheless, coach Louie said they had no regrets about that last shot. “We were able to get the shot that we want, pero siguro, hindi talaga para sa amin,” he said.

Santillan himself could only agree. “Ganun talaga. Wala tayong magagawa dun. Yung last shot ko naman, talagang sure ball na yun e, pero wala e, ‘di pumasok,” he said.

He then continued, “Ganun talaga ang laro – may nananalo, may natatalo. Ginawa naman namin ang lahat nang makakaya namin para makapasok sa Final Four.”

Indeed, the Green Archers were right there from start to finish in a close contest that had nine lead changes and eight deadlocks.

For that, their mentor is nothing but satisfied. As he put it, “It could have gone either way. Congratulations to FEU.”

He then continued, “I’m still proud of my boys na talagang up to the last second, nandun pa rin kami sa game. Talagang, lumaban yung mga bata.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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