ANTIPOLO — Columbian’s road to the playoffs just got tougher and a bit more complicated.
Whether or not the Dyip will make the quarterfinals now rests on how other teams fare down the stretch in the PBA Philippine Cup after a narrow loss to TNT on Friday dampened their chances.
It would have been a different story had Columbian, who stormed back from 18 down to threaten TNT in the final moments, sustained two comeback runs.
They first cut a double-digit second quarter gap to just one in the early goings of the third quarter, where a strong 10-0 start made it just a 46-47 deficit.
After falling behind big again, Columbian found their bearings and their shooting touch to make it a close ball game in the payoff period.
“Nalayuan e. Masyadong malayo yung hinabol namin. Pangalawa yung missed free throws namin. Pangatlo, too late to realize na kaya namin manalo. Just last seven minutes, 18 points, nahabol namin, narealize na kaya pala. Sayang,” head coach John Cardel lamented.
“Once we started to be a little more patient on offense, we started to get some stops and then we started making shots. I’m still proud of my guys, they still fought until the end of the game,” Rashawn McCarthy said.
For the team, being able to recover late in the game was a good sign that they could hang with the best of them.
“Kinapos nga kami sa huli pero magandang experience ‘yun sa team namin kasi alam pala namin na may ibubuga pa kami. Kahit natatambakan kami, di sumuko mga kasama ko, ‘yung mga coaches,” CJ Perez mused.
Unfortunately, that small moral victory may be the last win that they’ll be getting here in the conference.
Columbian is currently stuck at ninth place in the standings with a 4-7 card, behind NLEX, Alaska and Magnolia—all of whom have identical 4-5 records as of writing.
With no games left on their schedule, all that they can do now is wait.
“‘Yun nga. Antayin namin kung makaka-playoffs pa kami. It’s a blessing kung makakapaglaro pa kami,” Perez said.“We’ll see, kung destiny talaga namin pumasok, makakapag-knockout kami. Butas ng kayarom dadaanan namin,” Cardel added.