‘Sparkplug’ Verano proves worth in Ateneo win over NU
Here’s a name that should ring a bell from now on: Raffy Verano.
The Fil-American rookie finally had his breakout game, lifting Ateneo past National University, 65-50 on Sunday.
Verano came off the bench and provided the spark for the Blue Eagles, pouring 11 of his 20 points in the second quarter to allow his side to take a 34-16 halftime lead. He also got two rebounds and two steals to carry the Eagles to a 6-4 slate, good for solo third.
Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga said Verano’s great showing was a longtime coming for him, given the effort he has been putting so far this season.
“We’ve seen glimpses of Raffy in some of the other games,” he said. “He’s a sparkplug for us off the bench. He plays well defensively, but he also proved today that he can also score.”
As easy as he made things look on Sunday, Verano’s transition to the Philippines wasn’t that simple.
“It’s very different. Coming out here, the pace is faster. Usually, I play big here, but I play guard in the States,” the 18-year-old Verano said. “Coming down here, playing the three and the four, it’s starting to get more comfortable. It was a tough transition, but I’m getting used to it.”
The victory over the Bulldogs, though, should be the start of greater things for Verano, as he hopes to contribute further to the Blue Eagles’ campaign this season.
“It’s going great. I’m really enjoying it here especially in Ateneo with our coaches, team, and school in general. I’m getting more comfortable,” he said.
“I just want to help in way possible. If it’s to do the dirty work, to rebound, or just the little things, I’m willing to do anything to help the team out.”
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