UAAP: Zavier Lucero shrugs off scoring slump, keeps focus on UP showing
MANILA, Philippines — Zavier Lucero is not worried about the stretch of his subpar games in the second round as he continues to focus on what’s best for University of the Philippines in UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament.
After emerging as the No.2 candidate in the MVP race with 67.0 statistical points, the Filipino-American had a quiet stretch in the second round, averaging only 7.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in the past three games.
“As much as I wanna play well, it’s never gonna be just about me or how I play,” said Lucero, who had an impressive average in the first eight games with 15.4 points, 8.3 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 blocks.
The high-flying forward ended his slump on Tuesday, unloading 20 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks as UP routed the also-ran University of the East, 81-68, to assure at least the No.2 seed in the postseason.
But he insisted his stellar play won’t dictate UP’s fate as their team is always about collective effort.
“We’ve been winning for the most part, we dropped one game. Not performing to the level that I did in the first round, it’s part of basketball. Can’t look too much deeper than that,” he said.
The Fighting Maroons regained their momentum with an improved 10-2 record after winning back-to-back games over La Salle and UE since their eight-game winning streak got halted by Adamson.
With two matches remaining against University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday and facing the unbeaten Ateneo on Sunday, Lucero said UP will keep on forging a stronger bond as they brace for the Final Four round.
“We’ve been talking a lot lately about just trying to build, especially coming out of that Adamson loss, just trying to build and gain momentum,” he said. “It’s all about these last few games going to the playoffs. The trick is to just keep it going and keep building.”