Isaac Go praises Ateneo bench in San Beda stunner
MANILA, Philippines – Sweet-shooting big man Isaac Go deflected credit to his teammates – most of whom were forced to play out of position and beyond their usual minutes – as the undermanned Ateneo Blue Eagles still downed the mighty San Beda Red Lions to force a semifinal decider in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).
"We knew that we will have a team but we did not know how many or who would come," Go said after the UAAP champion Blue Eagles hacked out a 74-62 victory minus 7 players in Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Thursday, January 24.
"We needed to step up with classes [in Ateneo] now back. We don't know the schedule of the classes that is why we have to adjust to the people who are free."
The depleted Eagles only had 5 players to start the game.
Go admitted to feeling nervous about their chances of even making a five-man lineup. But minutes after tip-off, 4 other players – Thirdy Ravena, BJ Andrade, Jolo Mendoza and SJ Belangel – all caught up with the team and immediately played significant minutes off the bench.
"I think everybody was just ready to play if given the opportunity," said Go. "It's a chance for the other guys to step up."
Go erupted for 28 points, highlighted by a 7-of-12 (58%) clip from three-point range, to lead the Blue Eagles.
"It was not just me who stepped up," he said. "You saw RV (Berjay), Thirdy playing the five (center), BJ playing the four (power forward). Collective effort."
The Ateneo lineup, again, remains uncertain on Saturday, January 26, when the Blue Eagles and the Red Lions fight for a finals slot in the do-or-die Game 3 at 3 pm. The winner will advance against CESAFI champion UV Green Lancers.
But whoever will suit up the blue and white colors that day, Go believes they'll still be ready.
"Wait and see, but everybody is ready to step up," he said. "When we step on the court, the next game is always the important game. Last game, we struggled, we had rust, but of course, that can't be an excuse. When we put on the uniform, we must play the right way." – Rappler.com