NCAA: Clint Escamis eyes bounce back in Game 3 after ‘off night’

Clint Escamis Mapua NCAA

Clint Escamis.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines—Clint Escamis vowed to atone for the bad shooting of Mapua in a loss to San Beda in Game 2 of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball Finals on Sunday.

Not long after being hailed Rookie of the Year and MVP, Escamis was far from his usual self as the Cardinals blew a golden opportunity to end their 32-year championship drought following a 71-65 defeat.

Escamis paced Mapua with 15 points but he shot just 4-of-21 from the field, including 2-of-13 from downtown. The Cardinals’ other star in Paolo Hernandez also struggled mightily offensively with a 3-of-17 clip and four turnovers.

But being the leader that he is, Escamis kept his faith in his teammate, whom he believes will regain his form in the deciding Game 3 next Sunday.

“Paolo will be Paolo. Coach’s trust in him is still big like how my trust in him is still big. I know he’ll show up in Game 3. He showed up today, even, he just fell short and I knew he was suffering from cramps in the fourth,” said Escamis.

“It’s just an off night for us,” admitted the former University of the East guard. “If we can take on San Beda, we can take on San Beda, but we were shooting a lot of threes. That’s on us. We have to practice more.”

Mapua just couldn’t get anything offensively, shooting only 26 percent from the field, including 5-of-33 from long range. To make matters worse, most of the Cardinals’ misses came in the payoff period when they needed to match the firepower of Red Lions guard Jacob Cortez, who finished with a game-high 21 points.

“We still have one opportunity so now we’re going all out. It’s an all-out war. We’ll die for the ball… We only have this chance now and it came to us. We got one and we just need one more. Just like Beda, [they need] one more win.”

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