Kent Salado vowed to bounce back stronger following Racal’s 93-85 Game 1 defeat to Cignal-San Beda in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals on Thursday.
Spraining his ankle on a rebound play early in the fourth quarter, the speedy Arellano guard had to watch from the sidelines as the Tile Masters mounted a belated rally and ultimately failed.
“I wanted to come in, but it was hard for me because of my sprain. It was hard for us to come back because they had a big lead at that point,” Salado said in Filipino.
Salado subbed out at the 9:02 mark of the payoff period and finished with seven points, 10 rebounds, and two assists, but was a minus-13 for Racal in his 23 minutes on the floor.
Rey Nambatac led a furious rally which saw the Hawkeyes’ 21-point lead dwindle down to just five with ta little over two minutes left to play.
The 5-foot-9 guard admitted that it was a complete miscalculation on the Tile Masters’ part, as the defense they employed in their semifinals series against Cafe France wasn’t as effective against the Hawkeyes.
“We need to adjust on our defense because we did it the same way we did against Cafe France,” he said. “They got to a big lead early so we really need to adjust. We also felt frustration as our shooters failed to make their shots while a lot of their shots seemed to all went down.”
With Racal learning its lessons from this Game 1 debacle, Salado believes that his team can still force an equalizer against the fancied Cignal side.
“In Game 2, we’ll get back at them,” he said.