MANILA, Philippines – Mahindra swingman Alex Mallari made no excuses for the perplexing decision that he made in the final seconds of the Floodbuster's loss to the TNT KaTropa in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With Mahindra trailing by three points, 81-84, with 15.6 seconds to go, Mallari took a few precious seconds off the clock before driving to the basket for a lay-up that was easily disrupted by TNT veteran Ranidel de Ocampo, and rebounded by import Donte Greene.
Mallari's head-scratching decision allowed Greene to ice the game from the line, and TNT came away with an 86-84 victory. It was Mahindra's fourth loss of the conference against just one victory.
"Every loss is frustrating," said Mallari. "We're hanging in there with the best teams, but it always comes down to the last plays."
"Today, it was on me," he acknowledged. "That's probably the worst play I've ever done."
Asked to expound on his thought process during that crucial play, Mallari said: "I don't know… it was just an out of body experience. It was a nightmare."
Mallari nevertheless tried to look at it in a positive way. Mahindra was able to hang tough with TNT, and refused to back down even after the KaTropa surged ahead, 83-78, with 3:21 left to play. Instead, they were able to make it a one-possession game, 81-83, with 1:24 to go after Mallari's split at the line.
In their next possession, however, they flubbed a chance to take the lead when Jason Deutchmann bricked a triple. TNT's Roger Pogoy left the door open for them by making only one of two freebies, only for Mallari to bail out the KaTropa with his bad play in the end game.
"Again, we are hanging in there," said Mallari. "We just have to execute our plays down the stretch."
"We had that last play, and just like I said, that's what make the best teams great – executing down the stretch," he added. "We're not there yet, and it falls on me, Keith (Wright), and the rest of the teams leaders."
"I take responsibility for that last shot, and this game."
Mahindra coach Chris Gavina stopped short of blaming Mallari, instead pointing out that his veteran guard has become more aggressive and stepped up his level of play. However, like the rest of the Floodbuster, Mallari also needs to be smarter when it comes to executing in crunch time.
"We need (to be) a little bit more 'hinog' in our end game experience," said Gavina. "Knowing how to end games is really showing."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.