Pingoy hopes that second time, now with Adamson, is the charm
by rick olivares
Jerie Pingoy prayed in front of the Cross. He spent a good two minutes before he made the sign of the cross to signify the end of his prayer and entered the Adamson dugout… to applause.
It was the first time in what… years? It seems like an eternity since he was lauded for his efforts on the basketball court that led to a 61-58 overtime win over the Arellano University Chiefs on opening day of the 11th FilOil Flying V Premier Cup last Labor Day, May 1.
In truth, Adamson, harried by the terrific and physical defense of the Chiefs, labored for every point. Gunner Jerrick Ahanmisi only found an ounce of daylight twice. Every other time, he had a hand or two in his face. Even Pingoy, once spry and quick of feet seemed to be playing in slow motion. But he drove hard and adjusted on the fly.
His stat line seems a little pedestrian for someone of his talents – 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. However, that’s what Pingoy tabulated in 17 minutes. Unrecorded were the two huge stops late in the game on Arellano University’s Kent Michael Salado and Lervin Flores. The former was forced into a missed shot - a pull up jumper from the 15-foot line that barely grazed the rim while the latter was a forced jumpball that would have prevented a Chiefs inside basket. Pingoy would have a couple of more assist, but his teammates missed some open shots.
After Salado scored on an incredible drive against three defenders inside the lane to give Arellano a 48-45 lead with a minute and change left in the match, Pingoy rifled in a three, only the team’s third in 15 attempts all match long, with the long ball an integral part of their offensive scheme. Salado missed a long three at the buzzer and now Adamson had a chance to steal the game in overtime.
And that’s where Pingoy worked his magic.
After Pingoy buried a mid-range jumper to give Adamson the lead for good, 58-56, Arellano called for time. The “veteran” point guard hung his shoulders, looking tired as he is a bit out of shape and trudged to the bench. His teammates, even those sniping behind his back, high-fived him and patted him on the head.
Earlier in the match, after he a three-point attempt, Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren and assistant Jack Santiago didn’t get mad. They merely waved the team to get back on defense.
On a night when the Soaring Falcons offense sputtered, it was their defense and offensive rebounding that got them back into the game. They collectively hauled down 21 offensive boards to Arellano’s 14. And they translated that into 17 points; 10 more than the Chiefs.
After the match, Pingoy seemed to be lost for words. Which is surprising for someone always willing to talk, trade verbal jabs with opponents, and is so loquacious on social media. After Salado engaged him in a verbal joust late in the game. The only thing he said was, “Tara na! Bring it.”
And post-match, “It. Just. Feels. So. Good,” was all Pingoy could say in short fragmented sentences. And maybe its apt since his career has been so fragmented since leaving FEU for Ateneo after high school. Now with Adamson, hope, as the saying goes, springs eternal.
“Hopefully, tuloy tuloy na.”