UAAP: L-Jay Gonzales repays FEU trust with game-winner
ANTIPOLO CITY — Far Eastern University guard L-Jay Gonzales offered his game-winning basket against National University on Sunday to his team and their supporters.
Gonzales hit a clutch scoop shot with 17.6 seconds left that pushed FEU past NU in a win that breathed life into the Tamaraws’ Final Four chances as the Tamaraws ended the first round with back-to-back victories after a 0-5 start.
“I won’t be able to make that last shot without the trust of coach Olsen (Racela), who trusts me so much. That shot wasn’t for me, it’s for the whole team and the FEU community,” said Gonzales in Filipino after the Tamaraws’ 47-44 win at Ynares Center.
The 23-year-old Gonzales, who finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals, also credited the Tamaraws’ airtight defense in stopping the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak.
FEU held NU to just 17-of-59 shooting from the field including 3-of-16 from distance. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over 24 times.
“For us, it started with our defense. If we didn’t defend them well, we won’t able to execute our offensive plays,” said Gonzales as FEU also shot poorly with a 23 percent shooting clip from the field but scored the baskets that mattered most.
Gonzales hopes the upset over erstwhile league-leader NU will kickstart FEU’s turnaround.
“We won’t let go of this momentum. We will keep on doing what we have been doing in practice, including the extra work at our dorm. That really helped us,” said Gonzales.
With the second round of eliminations set next week, FEU coach Olsen Racela is giving his players a short break before resuming practice on Tuesday.
Racela said that although the Tamaraws are starting to get into their groove, the team still has a lot of work to do heading into the second round of what has been a well-balanced Season 85.
“Our win today does not mean anything. There is still a second round but it will give us a fighting chance. I told them, Adamson started at the sixth spot yesterday but suddenly they are number four now. Anything can happen with just one win. It’s still a long way to go but this will really give us that confidence and that chance,” said Racela.
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