‘Patient’ Hontiveros finally finds mark to lift Gilas
CHANGSHA CITY, China – No matter how many times shooters will miss, they will continue shooting until they snap out of their slump.
Virtually a non-entity in the first seven Gilas Pilipinas games in the Fiba Asia Championship, Dondon Hontiveros finally found his mark Friday night and helped carry the Filipinos to the gold medal game of the Olympic Qualifier here at Changsha Social Work College gym.
Hitting 6 of 9 shots from beyond the arc, the 6-foot-2 Cebu native was the biggest reason why the Filipinos tripped Japan for the third time this year, with an 81-70 semifinal victory giving the Philippines the chance to play for Asia’s lone berth in the Rio de Janeiro Games late Saturday night.
“I was just staying confident, staying patient,” the 38-year-old Hontiveros told the Inquirer. “There were so many games that I was off (and that) I was trying to be a factor defensively and make it hard for the guy I am guarding.”
Hontiveros again started out at the shooting guard spot and his first shot of the game was typical of what had been his fortune in the previous outings—he missed it.
But he knew that he was feeling it that night, when the stakes were truly high, when millions back home were expecting nothing less than a win.
“That first shot that I took, when it left my hands, it felt good, though it was a miss,” revealed Hontiveros, who said weeks ago that he really wanted to make the team to leave a legacy. “I was just more relaxed and calm.”