MANILA, Philippines -- With their usual sniper misfiring, San Beda University point guard Robert Bolick went to another option during crunch time of their game against San Sebastian on Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
AC Soberano, the league’s reigning three-point shootout king who makes 32.5% of his three-pointers, had missed on four attempts from beyond the arc, preventing the Red Lions from building on a 76-72 lead with still over three minutes left to play in the game.
But one of San Beda’s greatest strengths is the depth of their line-up. Even with Soberano throwing up bricks -- he finished 3-of-14 from beyond the arc -- they have a multitude of options on offense. Bolick showed off this depth by passing to an open Javee Mocon for a booming three-pointer with 3:12 left, extending their lead to 79-72.
Then, with two minutes to go, Bolick again whipped a crosscourt pass to Mocon, who coolly put up the triple that made it a 10-point game -- eventually allowing the Red Lions to claim an 82-75 victory over the Golden Stags.
For Bolick, who 18 points and 4 assists in the game, giving Mocon the opportunity was a no-brainer.
“Alam ko namang kaya eh,” he said. “Sila Javee, AC, ‘yung mga teammates namin, nagshu-shooting ‘yan prior sa practice. Sila ang mga maaga parati. So confident ako parati na kapag pinasa ko sa kanila, they’ll make the right decision lang din.”
Bolick hailed the extra work done by Mocon, as he noted that his teammate does shooting drills every day. “Alam ko na prepared siya every game,” said the point guard.
“At kami sa mga teammates namin, kapag naka-shoot ng isa, hinahanap na namin ng hinahanap. So ayun, hinanap ko rin,” he added.
For Mocon, it was all about trusting in the work that he put in and repaying the confidence that his teammates and coaches continue to give him.
“Sa akin kasi, lagi kong pina-practice siya. These past two games 'di pumapasok. 'Yung mga teammates ko at si Coach Boyet, lagi akong pinu-push na be confident about my shot. Siguro this time, pumasok siya,” said Mocon.
“Once na pumapasok ang mga tira ko, nao-open ang mga center namin,” he also said. “Malaking tulong.”
Mocon finished with a team-high 20 points, making two of his four attempts from beyond the arc while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Yet even as Mocon was hailed for his clutch shots, Bolick was also quick to note that it was a complete team effort that gave them their seventh straight win in the NCAA Season 94 tournament. Aside from him and Mocon, two other players scored in double-digits for San Beda.
“Sa amin talaga, it's a team game. Si Donald (Tankoua), monster sa ilalim eh. Nag-iisip sila kay Donald, nag-iisip pa sila kay Mocon, kay AC sa corner, so nahihirapan sila mag-adjust,” said Bolick.
The victory hiked San Beda’s record to 13-1, and assured them of at least a playoff for a spot in the Final 4.
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