It was just a few weeks ago when Ateneo was on the verge of a rare elimination round sweep in the men’s basketball competition of UAAP Season 80.
Yet the elusive feat was denied by no less than their archrivals.
Ateneo’s towering big man Isaac Go actually had an opportunity to give the Blue Eagles the edge it needed to win over the De La Salle Green Archers in the said contest, but things did just not go in their favor.
While a lot of Ateneo fans rallied behind him and the team after the loss, there were a lot of people who openly criticized his end-game decision.
But those who continued to believe in him got the sweetest treats from Go as he made crucial shots one after the other in the next games of Ateneo en route to the team’s first championship in five years.
The most important of it all was the go-ahead shot from beyond the arc that gave the Blue Eagles the cushion it needed against a very dangerous La Salle side down the stretch.
With the championship on the line in the dying minutes of Game 3 of the Finals, Thirdy Ravena drove strong to the basket against two-time MVP Ben Mbala. He then stopped on a dime, turned around, and dished the ball to Isaac Go.
Even as La Salle skipper and defensive specialist Kib Montalbo flew by to distract him, the Katipunan tower was not to be stopped in making the shot of his life.
“Coach Tab said that you shouldn’t be thinking about anything when you shoot,” shared Go when asked about what was on his mind at that precise moment. “So when I released the ball, I just let it fly.”
“It’s Go Time” is what Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena would dub the series of clutch moments his teammate made for the Blue and White, if only he had his way.
Yet Go just laughed off this remark.
The Ateneo community sees the BS Management of Applied Chemistry baller as the modern-day Blue Eagle hero, but he insisted that none of it would be possible without the contribution of others.
For one, he recognized the patron saint of his high school alma mater in the success of his dagger three pointer.
“Today’s the feast day of St. Francis Xavier,” he said. “Maybe he had a hand in it.”
The 21-year old also downplayed the hype surrounding the shot.
In true philosophical fashion, he explained, “One shot doesn’t make a game. It’s a collection of possessions, small details that combined, make a win.”
“That shot is a culmination of work,” he added.
Go then gave credit to his teammates and the coaching staff.
“Everybody thinks I have guts because I’m making shots at that moment, but without the execution of the coaching staff, without their brains, and without the recognition of my teammates, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take the shot in the first place.”
“You call me clutch, but it’s better to say the team is clutch,” he continued.
Yet at the end of the day, hero or not, the Blue Eagle is just thankful for the chance to live out his dream.
“I’m even lucky to get an opportunity to play for the Ateneo,” he admitted. “Getting an opportunity to play in the Finals with this band of brothers, with our coaching staff — that’s the opportunity you have to be thankful for.”
“The shot is one aspect of five years. It’s one moment. You have to take the joy in making most of the five years that you have in Ateneo,” he ended.