PBA legend and NLEX assistant coach Jojo Lastimosa defended his nephew and Blackwater guard Carlo Lastimosa, who has come under fire for missing what could have been a game-winning free throw Wednesday night in a game against Phoenix.
The 52-year-old Lastimosa said Carlo called him up Thursday to seek his advice on what he needs to do following reports circulating at social media of his alleged game-fixing attempt.
“Para sa akin, I told him last night (Thursday), he called me because he was bothered. I told him that you don’t have to defend yourself in the media because this is how you’re gonna deal with criticisms from people talking outside,” said Lastimosa, told FOX Sports, moments after NLEX hacked out a nail-biting 110-105 win over GlobalPort on Friday night.
“I have to give him (Carlo) the credit because yung game na yan, he came out really firing in the 2nd half. And I think he was 1 of the reasons why they (Elite) came back in the 2nd half,” he added.
A member of the PBA’s 25 greatest players, Lastimosa said it wouldn’t be fair to blame the Blackwater guard, who carried the fight for the Elite after pouring 26 of his game-high 28 points in the 2nd half.
The younger Lastimosa also earned a rare 4-point play in the dying seconds of regulation play after drawing a foul from Phoenix’s RR Garcia.
Although he was asked to be subbed out after hurting his shooting hand, Lastimosa waved it off, opting to take the bonus shot, which he failed to make, thus sending the game to a overtime.
Regulation play ended at 109-all.
The Fuel Masters then made their run in the extra session to eke out a 124-120 win, while overcoming Lastimosa’s 7-point effort in that stretch.
The loss cost Blackwater its playoff chances in the Commissioner’s Cup after dropping to 3-7.
“I was just surprised that even coaches were saying something fishy and they didn’t name any names and si Carlo, akala niya siya yun,” said the former 9-time PBA All-Star.
“If it was something really fishy, he wouldn’t have gone off shooting the lights out in the 2nd half, kasi naka-20-plus points pa siya,” explained Lastimosa, who won 10 PBA championships as a player, including a rare Grand Slam as a vital cog with the Alaska Aces.
“He just happened to miss that crucial free throw and that free throw wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t make that 3-point shot anyway,” he added.
“So ibig sabihin ba, ano to sinadaya niya i-miss yung 3-point shot pero pumasok lang? I don’t get that.”
Lastimosa is hopeful that Carlo will be able to move on from the unfortunate incident and let his game do the talking.
“I told him to just continue to play kasi wala ka ng magagawa (on what people will say). If your conscience is clear and you didn’t do something stupid, don’t be bothered by it,” he said.
The Elite will play their final game for the Commissioner’s Cup on April 10 against Rain or Shine. – By Richard Dy
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