MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs’ first game for the UAAP Season 82 looked like it belonged to Dave Ildefonso.
With 1.4 seconds left in a heated overtime game against the win-seeking Adamson Soaring Falcons, Ildefonso sank a tough go-ahead layup over three defenders to take an 83-81 lead.
Then Lenda Douanga happened.
With no time to spare, the Congolese big man flung up a Hail Mary game-winning triple that barely tickled the twine as it went in, sending the Falcons into a rightful frenzy.
Ildefonso, meanwhile, could only stare in disbelief as his career-high 29-point effort was wasted just like that.
After a post-game pep talk from head coach Jamike Jarin, the second-year guard eventually had time to gather his thoughts regarding the shocking loss.
“Disappointing sa una pero sa tingin ko sabi ni God, sa kanila talaga yung laro eh,” he said after the game. “Ginawa ko naman lahat nang makakaya ko. Ginawa namin ng mga teammates ko lahat ng makakaya namin pero yun nga, binigay ni God yung panalo sa Adamson.”
(I was disappointed at first but I thought God said that the game belonged to them. I did what I can and my teammates as well but there, God gave the win to Adamson.)
“Props to [Douanga] kasi yung mga free throws niya, super crucial tapos yung dibdib niya alam mong buo na,” he continued.
(Props to Douanga because his free throws were super crucial and you know he doesn’t get the jitters anymore.)
Despite the loss, Ildefonso praised his team’s composure in the endgame, a facet that cost them a lot of close games last season when they went 4-10.
“Well yung composure namin ngayon, iba talaga from last season,” he said. “Di naman kami natalo sa immaturity o lack of composure, pero sa breaks of the game talaga.
(Our composure is different from last season. We didn’t lose due to immaturity nor lack of composure, but really from the breaks of the game.)
“This year, mas kumpiyansa kami sa last year kasi yung core namin is really intact,” he continued. “Yung mga rookies namin, solid talaga sila. After this game, we won’t be down. Alam naming kaya naming manalo.”
(This year, we’re more composed from last year because our core is really intact. Our rookies are really solid. After this game we won’t be down. We know we can win.)
Ildefonso and the Bulldogs look to rebound against the La Salle Green Archers – who are also coming off a loss against rival Ateneo – on Wednesday afternoon, September 11. – Rappler.com