Manila reaping fruits of Lastimosa gamble
Carlo Lastimosa found himself at a crossroads almost a year ago when he got cut by PBA team Columbian Dyip.
What Lastimosa didn’t lose was his belief in his talent and work ethic, which he wanted to bring to the next team that would take a chance on him.
Building up their squad following a heartbreaking end to their campaign last year, Manila Stars-Frontrow were quick to snap up the free agent guard. The North division powerhouse is now reaping the rewards of Lastimosa’s rejuvenated play in the Chooks-To-Go MPBL Lakan playoffs.
“I just want to win the championship for Manila just because they took a chance on me,” said Lastimosa, who fired 23 points in Manila’s 91-88 victory over Pasig Sta. Lucia at the start of their North division quarterfinal series at San Andres Gym in Manila on Tuesday night.
Just how locked in is the former St. Benilde Blazer? He runs a quick tally on the number of wins Manila needs to claim the national title.
“We’re nine wins away,” he said. That’s easier said than done though with a number of strong teams in the North division, and that’s not mentioning defending champion San Juan, the team that bundled out Manila in last season’s North division finals.
Lastimosa also knows that Pasig’s veteran-laden team is capable of a strong response in Game 2 on Saturday. “We had some lapses, especially with our turnovers, so we have to improve in the next game,” he said.
Manila head coach Tino Pinat had predicted Lastimosa as a key contributor in the series against the seventh-seeded Realtors.
“We expected Carlo to deliver,” the veteran mentor said of Lastimosa, who played for Barako Bull, Blackwater and NLEX in a five-year stint in the PBA.
Earlier, third seed Makati used a strong finishing kick to hold off No. 6 Bulacan, 94-88, in Game 1 of their own series.