With the game tied at 71 with 30 seconds left and the ball in his hands, Andoy Estrella only had one person in his mind: coach Atoy Co.
“I knew I had to give him a reason to trust me again. I haven’t been playing that well lately. So during our practices, he was giving me confidence to make up for the bad games,” he said in Filipino.
Estrella had the chance to redeem himself and Co gave him the opportunity to as the Cardinals went to the senior playmaker for the crucial basket.
He measured his defender with the clock dwindling down. He stepped just before the arc and hoisted for a three over Flash Sadiwa. Swish. The Cardinals took the 74-71 advantage with 20.6 seconds left.
— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) October 5, 2017
What followed was a solid defensive job on the other end and a Leo Gabo layup to seal the game shut to hand Mapua its third win in 15 games with the 76-71 shocker over the Altas.
“I just paid off the trust coach Atoy has been giving me,” said Estrella.
It was not his first time to step up to the plate, burying a game-winner against Letran back in July for the Cardinals’ first win of the season.
In a season where positives are not as abundant as the seasons prior, moments like Estrella’s game-winner are are a big deal for the Cardinals.
And the graduating guard is just hoping that victories like these could spur the younger players on in the future.
“These wins are big for us so that next season, the younger players that will come will have the confidence,” Estrella said. “It’s a boost in their morale, so I want them to think that we shouldn’t quit until the end. That even though we’re already out of the Final Four, we should continue playing, continue practicing, and continue fighting.”