There was much hype surrounding Brandon Bates as the De La Salle University Green Archers entered the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. But even if Kiwi student-athlete Taane Samuel went down, the 6-foot-9 Filipino-Australian saw limited minutes, averaging just 2.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 13.7 minutes of action.
But that could not keep a good man down.
“I just go in every game, with the same mindset,” shared the 21-year-old.
And it would certainly help to have a pep talk with your mentor.
“Actually, yesterday I talked to him. Before the game I spoke to him that with the effort he’s giving, he has to commend himself,” disclosed first-year head coach Louie Gonzalez. “I told him that every time you get the offensive rebound and you see the ring, I want you to take the shot.
“Because this guy will do everything, not just on scoring, to help this team.”
In a virtual must-win game against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, Bates delivered for the Green Archers.
Bates was part of the last five of the Green Archers on Saturday evening. With his tall frame, he was able to stifle the Tamaraws, swatting away shots while gobbling rebound after rebound.
He ended the day with seven points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks – his best game in his young UAAP career. Moreover, he was pivotal in La Salle’s 65-57 win that kept the Green Archers in solo third in the Final Four race.
“This game, I had a little bit of coffee before the game, a bit more energy. It’s something I’ve read about pro players,” shared the eloquent rookie.
“They’re not always gonna be starters, they’re always ready to play when coaches ask them. That’s really it.”
This outing might be the result of the talk he had with Gonzalez that gave him a boost.
“I’m not too confident in myself but it’s nice to know that the coaching staff, the managing staff, and the players all have confidence in me to step up and do what I need to do and not be the primary scorer but to really help in other ways, so it’s nice,” beamed Bates.
“He’s a winner. That’s why he’s part of this team,” closed Gonzalez.
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