MANILA, Philippines—June Mar Fajardo was hard on himself after missing two crucial free throws in the Philippines’ heartbreaking loss to Iran in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Monday night.
The big man could have given the Philippines a three-point lead with 2:20 left, when he drew the fifth and final foul on Iranian center Meisam Mirzae with Gilas clinging to a 68-67 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Philippines, Fajardo missed both charities. He earned a measure of redemption after scoring the go-ahead lay-up with 1:06 to play for a 70-69 lead, but Iran ended the game on a 9-0 run to secure an important 78-70 triumph.
Fajardo was clearly upset when he looked back on the missed foul shots.
“Nakaka-frustrate,” he said. “Sobrang crucial noong mintis ko. Kailangan talagang i-work out ‘yung free throws, lalo na sa end game.”
“Sobrang nakaka-frustrate. Sino ba namang matutuwa na natalo, di ba? Ang sama,” he also said.
Fajardo ended up with just 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting, along with 4 rebounds.
With the loss, the Philippines went 0-2 in the fifth window of the qualifiers, with both games being held on its home court. At 5-5 in Group F, the Filipinos are now in a must-win situation heading into the final window in February 2019.
“Sobrang hirap,” Fajardo said of their situation.
“Masakit ang talo, masakit na natalo tayo. Hindi ito yung gusto nating ending pero ganito ang nangyari. Kailangan nating matuto sa talong ito.”
For Fajardo, the Philippines’ two losses showed that the national team needs more time to prepare, if it hopes to reach its goal of playing in the World Cup next year.
“Kailangan ng time, kasi galing kami sa iba-ibang sistema. Yun lang sinasabi ni coach, kailangan talaga mag-adapt agad kasi short period lang yung preparation,” he said.
“Nakakalungkot pero mananalo tayo as a team, matatalo tayo as a team,” he added. “Kailangan matuto tayo sa game na ito.”
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Article source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/12/04/18/fiba-world-cup-june-mar-on-missing-key-free-throws-nakaka-frustrate