Star rookie coach Jason Webb said the upside to the team’s 2nd straight early playoff exit is the system buy-in he saw among the players which enabled the Hotshots to push powerhouse San Miguel Beer to the brink before falling short, 103-99 in their knockout quarterfinal match on Wednesday.
The Hotshots showed grit and determination against a stacked-up Beermen, with veteran guard PJ Simon joining hands with import Ricardo Ratliffe in an audacious 3rd-quarter run that enabled them to erect an 11-point spread.
But with Star whistled for 30 fouls compared to San Miguel’s 18, the Hotshots eventually lost the lead, the game and the chance to advance to the semifinals under Webb.
“Forget the 8th and 1-seed. Maybe we could have won this game, but our guys really buying in to each other, you can see it in the court,” Webb told media men after the game.
“There’s a different atmosphere right now. We don’t care about seedings,” he added.
Webb though lamented on the huge free throw disparity as the Beermen went 27-of-37 on the line compared to the Hotshots’ paltry 12-of-14.
The Hotshots failed to score in the final 3:18 of the match, including 0-of-4 from the field, along with 2 crucial turnovers that led to their downfall.
“The guys just believed in what we’re doing. Even though we’re 8th seed, we felt we were better than 8th seed. Because remember, with Ricardo, we only lost 2 times in the elims and probably, we could have won this game,” explained the 42-year-old Star freshman coach.
“A couple of breaks coming against our way, some tough calls against him (Ratliffe) and really, I was surprised he was whistled for (foul) no. 5,” he added. – By Richard Dy
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava