Isaac gamble pays off for Blackwater with PBA D-League title
MANILA, Philippines — For a moment in Game 2, NLEX reclaimed its championship form — forcing turnovers leading to easy baskets and a seemingly insurmountable 18-point lead in the third quarter. For a moment Tuesday, a Game 3 was imminent.
But not for long. Not after Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac rolled the dice with a change in defense that changed the course of the game.
“We gambled,” said Isaac. “We converted to a 2-3 zone. Luckily for us, wala akong nakita na outside shot nila na pumasok and it paved the way for our comeback.”
Actually, there was one three-point shot that went in courtesy of Kirk Long from the right corner after Pari Llagas came late on a close out. But overall, the Road Warriors, a team loaded with talent and shooters with Long, Garvo Lanete and Ronald Pascual to name a few, uncharacteristically went just two-of-19 from deep.
“They gambled with the zone in the third quarter all the way to the fourth and we kept missing our shots,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said, whose squad’s two-year PBA D-League reign ended via sweep. “We shot just 10% at the three-point area.”
Lanete missed all of his three triples, Long misfired on three of his four tries, Pascual also bricked his shots, including a potential game-tying heave, as time ran out. RR Garcia also went one-of-four.
Nothing to blame said Fernandez. “We’re ready for their zones. We’re practicing our outside shots but when it came to game time hindi namin ma-shoot.”
Isaac gambled and it paid off with a championship.