MANILA, Philippines—Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio looked over to the scene where his import Eric Dawson was down on the floor—grimacing in pain—as he clutched his left knee late against Rain or Shine.
Dawson slipped with his left knee slightly bending in an awkward direction as he made a move to the basket with the Bolts’ fate in the playoffs hanging in the balance.
“I haven’t assessed him yet but all I can hear was ‘I’m going to finish this game coach, I’m going to finish this game. I’m not going to abandon my teammates,'” recalled Gregorio after his team squeaked past Rain or Shine in overtime, 118-116, to avoid a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
“Tonight’s game, it was really Eric Dawson who towed us to victory playing with one leg but still enough to make the crucial baskets to secure us the victory.”
The six-foot-nine Dawson finished with 50 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five steals – his second game with at least 50 points after knocking in 57 points against Petron Blaze just weeks ago.
“It’s alright, just a little tweak but I’ll be fine. If it’s serious then I wouldn’t be able to walk. I just don’t want to give up on my team, I want to keep playing hard and just fight to the end. This is my job, I don’t want to quit,” said Dawson, who limped towards the bench.
The 28-year-old Dawson, who had a short stint with San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, said his knee still bothered him during the game.
Dawson though, appeared to have recovered just seconds after as he nailed a short stab off the inbound pass by Chris Ross to give the lead back to Meralco, 116-115, with only 1:35 remaining.
“It’s a great character win for us but more than that it’s really an inspiration to have a player like Eric Dawson,” added Gregorio.