MANILA, Philippines—The prospect of receiving the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy did little to cheer up San Beda forward Calvin Oftana on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-4 swingman was reeling from their first loss of the season, after the Letran Knights claimed a 65-64 upset of the Red Lions in Game 1 of the NCAA Season 95 Finals.
It ended San Beda's 32-game winning streak since August 2018, and prevented them from completing a perfect season.
Game 2 of the finals is at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.
" 'Yung goal naman namin, balewala na 'yung sweep namin sa eliminations. So 'yung goal namin ngayon is championship," said Oftana. "Di pa naman tapos, Game 1 pa lang, so we have Game 2 and Game 3. Bounce back kami sa Game 2."
If the Red Lions are to force a do-or-die game, they will need to get more from Oftana. The MVP had just 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field, though he also had 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
He also missed two 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds, including a potential go-ahead triple with less than 12 seconds left. Oftana went 0-of-5 from behind the arc in the game, as San Beda as a team made just 6 of 40 three-pointers.
"Nagmintis," Oftana lamented, when asked about the final play. "Hindi namin na-execute 'yung play ni coach so parang ganoon 'yung nangyari."
Oftana averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in the eliminations, while shooting 54% from the field, including a blistering 48.4% from behind the arc. Those numbers — and San Beda's 18-0 sweep — helped him get the MVP, but he was in no mood to discuss his individual achievement after their loss.
"Wala, tapos na 'yun. Wala na sa isip ko 'yun. Gusto ko lang ngayon manalo kami sa Game 2," said Oftana, who will receive his MVP trophy before Game 2.
"Ako 'yung napili, thankful ako kay God, sa mga teammates ko. 'Di naman mangyayari sa akin 'yan kung wala sila. And, 'yun nga, pag nasa loob ng court, walang MVP, walang Mythical 5, walang sinong star. We're gonna play as a team kasi 'yun naman ang importante sa amin," he stressed.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.