MANILA, Philippines -- National University standout Dave Ildefonso believes he made the right play in the closing seconds of the Bulldogs' latest loss, a heartbreaking 80-79 setback to University of the Philippines on Wednesday afternoon.
Ildefonso had already scored 25 points, including a triple that made it a one-point game with 11 seconds left. UP's David Murrell flubbed a pair of free throws that gave NU a chance to win the game, and Ildefonso had the ball in his hands in the final seconds.
But he ran into a triple team by Murrell, Kobe Paras, and Jun Manzo, and thus gave up the ball to John Lloyd Clemente, who was open beyond the arc. Clemente took one dribble before rising for the potential game-winning jumper, but left it just short as time expired.
"Happy ako kasi tama naman 'yung decision ko na ipasa sa kanya eh, open na open talaga siya," said Ildefonso after the game, which dropped NU to 0-4 in UAAP Season 82.
"Tatlo 'yung nasa akin… so, di ko alam kung paano ko ba ititira 'yun," he added. "Sa judgment ko talaga, tama 'yung decision na ginawa ko, na ipasa ko sa kanya."
Ildefonso, who also had 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the game, stressed that he trusted Clemente to take and make the shot, even though the sophomore guard had struggled all throughout the game.
Clemente ended up scoring just 2 points in the contest, missing all but one of his six field goal attempts.
Though he acknowledged that Clemente had been "off," Ildefonso stood by his decision to pass up the final shot.
"'Yun ang right decision no matter what. I stick to that," he said.
Clemente himself was disappointed to miss the shot, but was encouraged by Ildefonso who crashed his post-game interview.
"Mashu-shoot niya 'yan," Ildefonso declared.
"Ayun nga," Clemente said. "Sabi niya, sa susunod, mashu-shoot ko na."
National U will try to go for a breakthrough victory on Sunday, when they take on two-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University.
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