*Nice long slow clap to KIA Sorento/Carnival and their debut season.
The game might not have ended as I would have preferred (it would have been nice to finish the PBA season with three conferences above .500) but the Bolts made it to the playoffs regardless of the result of this game anyways, so I’m not complaining too much.
KIA did their best they could to end their debut season with a playoff appearance, and they did all they could in their power in this game to make that possible.
The game went teetering back and forth throughout the game. For the first two quarters, KIA stepped out and took a slight lead, with quality minutes from Mark Yee (13 points, eight rebounds) and Leo Avendido (six points, two three-point shots). The Bolts managed to stay close with a balanced scoring performance (all Bolts’ players scored except Seiya Ando), and eventually took a two-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
With a five-point cushion and three minutes and change left on the clock, the Bolts were poised to take their sixth victory this season. You could almost hear the sound of Ginebra fans’ hearts breaking at this point (Ginebra would need KIA to win to keep their playoff hopes alive).
And then it happened.
For the final three minutes, Ginebra fans must have channeled their #NeverSayDie spirit to KIA.
KIA sprinted out with an 11-2 run, highlighted by a three from Karl Dehesa (who had been shooting a fiery 44% in his last three games) and a clutch triple to tie the game at 80 by none other than Joshua Webb. However, the hero of this game just had to be LA Revilla, who scored half of his 16 points in the last three minutes. He hit a long cold-blooded jumpshot and then a floater in traffic. He did a nice job in the biggest play of the game by drawing in opponents with his penetration before finally kicking it out for the three to Webb.
I really liked this play as it took advantage of how many defenders will be drawn towards LA and the rolling Hamady N’Diaye to get Karl Dehesa and Joshua Webb free for three.
Revilla ended the game as he iced four free throw shots, and Ginebra fans finally got the LA hero they have always been rooting for.
KIA showed that they wanted the game more and simply outhustled the Bolts in this game.
Norman Black dug a bit deeper into their bench in this game. Maybe this was to rest his other players or just because of the game situation or it was just because he wasn’t getting a good enough performance from his starters. Whatever the case is, Simon Atkins played in a total of 17 minutes, which was almost twice as much as he had played in the entire four games prior to this one, where he played a total of 10 minutes and picked up two DNPs.
Atkins responded by scoring six points and dishing three assists, but the fact Atkins was the Bolts third leading scorer in this game says plenty about how things went for the other players.
The Bolts had one more chance to tie the game in the waning seconds as Gary David missed the game tying three-point shot, but one (most likely TNT fans) must wonder: what if David had passed the ball to a wide open Seiya Ando instead?
– KIA got a nice season-closing victory to finish their maiden season on a high note.
– The Bolts still made the playoffs.
– Ginebra’s playoff hopes were still alive, and they would clinch the last playoff spot in the following game.
This means that the only loser was actually Talk N’ Text, which were unable to control their own fate in the playoffs.
The Bolts will be kicking off their playoffs against the San Miguel Beermen this weekend.
Videos courtesy of ABS-CBN Sports, Feature Picture courtesy from Paul Ryan Tan (Sports5.PH)