MANILA, Philippines—There was no doubt in Renzo Subido's mind that he could knock down the 3-pointer that propelled University of Santo Tomas to the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball finals.
It was a shot that he had visualized again and again, and one that he had practiced multiple times ahead of their knockout game on Wednesday against University of the Philippines.
Thus, he was not surprised to sink the go-ahead three-pointer with 23 seconds left, giving UST a 66-65 lead over the Fighting Maroons. They went on to win the game, 68-65, to advance to the best-of-3 Finals against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
"It was just part of the game," Subido would say afterward. "I took the shot, kasi hindi lumapit si (UP center) Bright (Akhuetie). I've been practicing those every day, and I was comfortable."
Subido had gone 4-of-9 from beyond the arc in the game, finishing with 14 points. He had set the tone for the Growling Tigers in the contest, having scored their first five points of the ball game.
And when UST needed a big shot in crunch time, they went to their team captain who has repeatedly bailed them out of tight spots this season.
"Usually ako, ginagawa ko the night before every game, I really visualize, sini-simulate ko na sa utak ko kung 'yung mga possible na mangyayari. It's really about mental preparation," he said.
"It's not just mental preparation. I always practice it on the court also," he added. "Sila coach McJour (Luib), sila coach Aldin (Ayo), they always tell me that every time I do extra practice, I have to simulate, I have to visualize na ito 'yung mga scenarios."
This is not the first time that Subido had drilled a big shot against UP. In their second round meeting, the point guard took charge down the stretch, setting up Brent Paraiso for the go-ahead 3-pointer before icing the game with another triple with just 26 seconds left.
UST won that game, 84-78.
His shot on Wednesday was far more significant, however, as it sent the Tigers to the finals for the first time since 2015. Subido, one of three graduating players for UST, ensured that he would have at least two more games to play for the Tigers.
As unsurprised as he was to have made the shot, Subido still acknowledged it's one that will stick in his mind for a while.
"May mga times na nai-imagine ko, and siyempre minsan 'pag mag-isa lang ako, nai-imagine ko na, 'Uy, game-winner, Renzo'," he said. "And I just can't help it but to smile."
"Siyempre, nakakatuwa 'yung ganoon. I'm really grateful na binagay sa akin ni Lord 'yung game-winning shot," he added.
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