LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY(LPU) takes pride in its roster depth and keeps its foes guessing in the already-unpredictable National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 men’s basketball tournament.
From team captain Enoch Valdez to menacing bruiser Shawn Umali, the Pirates of head coach Gilbert Malabanan have proven to be threats in a bid for back-to-back Final Four appearances – and a coveted twice-to-beat bonus.
But this time, it was JM Bravo’s turn to be the hero for LPU.
The 6-foot-2 Bravo averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games as the Pirates extended their winning streak to four, enough for him to be hailed as the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week for the period Nov. 3 to 5.
Bravo edged out Jun Roque of Perpetual, Will Gozum of Benilde, and Clifford Jopia of San Beda for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
He had 12 points and nine rebounds in their tight 86-82 win over Mapua University last Friday before dropping 17 markers and four boards in their 85-79 win over reigning champion Letran Knights to push Lyceum into a two-way tie with the Cardinals at 10-3 for the No. 1 seed.
His heroics included three clutch treys down the wire against the Knights to give the Pirates the finishing kick they needed.
For Bravo, he draws confidence from his coaches’ trust to hit the big shots when it matters the most.
“I am very thankful to coach Gilbert [Malabanan] for his trust and confidence. I won’t waste their trust,” Bravo — Lyceum’s second best scorer with 11.85 points in 13 games behind Valdez — said.
“They really motivate me to do what I need to do inside the court.”
Malabanan expects the Pirates to continue their selfless plays and unpredictability as they aim not only for a Final Four slot but also a potential twice-to-beat incentive.
“That’s our advantage they don’t know who is to guard. So they will concentrate in team defense,” Malabanan said.
“That’s the good thing about us, anybody is ready to take charge.”