NCAA: Eager to repay coach’s faith, JM Bravo breaks out of a slump
MANILA, Philippines—Despite playing all games for Lyceum this season, JM Bravo was “welcomed back” by head coach Gilbert Malabanan after their win against San Sebastian on Sunday.
The remark came after Bravo’s game returned to form in the Pirates’ tight win against the Golden Stags in overtime, 82-79.
“He’s been playing, but I had to tell him, ‘welcome back.’ His game has been gone for a while, I don’t know where it went but thankfully it got back… Maybe it was left in the team bus,” Malabanan said in jest.
Prior to Sunday’s affair, the guard only averaged 5.71 points and 2.86 rebounds in seven games. He has also been shooting at a lowly 40.48 percent clip.
The 6-foot-2 came alive for Lyceum, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds and a stellar 71.4 percent from the field.
“I’m happy because coach (Gilbert) gave me an opportunity to produce. I didn’t waste it because I want to show him my best every time. He had to welcome me back because my game was so bad recently,” Bravo explained.
“I made that my motivation. I put it to my heart and mind that this team needs me and not just me but all of us,” he added.
The former UCSAA MVP scored half of his points in the crucial extra period, including a triple to overtake the Golden Stags, 80-79.
The 6-foot-2 swingman was part of the Pirates’ second stringers which Malabanan continued to laud.
“My first, second and third unit are starting to be the same. They’re so good that if they are put in other schools, they can be included in the first five. That’s the reason why I trust my players with all my heart,” he said.
LPU will end its first round run against Arellano, which holds a 4-4 record, on Tuesday, 3 p.m.
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