BOTCHED free throws more than anything else cost TnT Katropa Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
Coach Bong Ravena lamented the team's failure to put San Miguel away by missing four crucial straight free throws that could have sealed the deal for the Katropa.
Instead, they found themselves back in the drawing boards as the Beermen capitalized on their blunder to tie the best-of-seven series at 1-1 following a 127-125 double overtime thriller Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"We thought we had it," said an obviously dejected Ravena afterwards.
"Free throws. If we only made our free throws, tapos na sana."
The Katropa missed 11 of their free throws after going 13-of-24 from the line.
Two of those came at the most crucial time on missed attempts by Brian Heruela and Troy Rosario.
The Katropa led 114-112 with 21 seconds left in the first extra period when Heruela, coming in as a replacement for ejected import Terrence Jones, bungled two of his foul shots that could have further stretched TnT's lead.
After San Miguel import Chris McCullough missed at the other end, the Katropa had all the chance to ice the game after Rosario was sent to the line off a duty foul by Arwind Santos with only four seconds left.
But to its horror, Rosario, who was extra hot for the Katropa during the game, also flubbed both his free throws, resulting into a fastbreak play by Chris Ross to a streaking Alex Cabagnot for the basket that sent the game into a second overtime, 114-114.
"Yes exactly. Yung two free throws ni Brian and Troy, if only they made that shot, kahit isa lang nga, tapos na," Ravena recalled.
But with Game 3 immediately set for Friday also at the Big Dome, Ravena said the Katropa have no more time to delve on the what ifs.
"Everything happens for a reason. We had our chances, sayang, sayang lang," said the TnT mentor.
"What can we do? What can they (players) do? We cannot do anything about that loss, but just to move again and prepare for the next game. Yun lang naman ang choice mo," Ravena added.(RG)