An unexpected sparkplug emerged for the University of the Philippines when the Fighting Maroons needed it the most.
Janjan Jaboneta, a third year student-athlete, scored the most for the Fighting Maroons, sinking all of his four three-pointers to tally 12 points, three rebounds, and two steals. And it was a big improvement after averaging only 3.0 points in the first round.
He help lift UP out of their three-game losing streak after escaping the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers for the second time around, 71-69.
To make things more special, today, he found himself in an unfamiliar but pleasant position: the first five.
“First time ko mag-start sa UAAP career ko so yung chance kong ito parang once in a lifetime sa akin.
“So binigay ko lang yung best ko. ‘Di ko binigo si coach Bo [Perasol]. Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya na binigyan niya ako ng chance,” shared the 6-foot guard.
Jaboneta admitted that he had felt pressured to step-up as his two roommates, Paul Desiderio and Jun Manzo, are having stellar years.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa dalawang roomates ko sa dorm, si Jun at si Paul. Sila parati ang nagpu-push sa akin na ibigay yung best ko at ipakita kung ano ang meron ako,” the 19-year-old said. “Minsan sa training third five ako, kaya nag-pupush lang ako ng sarili ko na sana dumating sa point na first five ako.
“Laking tulong nitong dalawang ‘to sa akin kasi sila talaga nag-pupush sa akin.”
Having always been surrounded by the the top-gunners of his team, Jaboneta cannot deny that Desiderio and Manzo’s positive spirits have rubbed off of him.
Besides that, he wanted to help free up the team’s leading scorer, as he has constantly figured in double teams for the entire course of the opening round.
“Sa totoo lang, si Paul [Desiderio] nagbigay ng kumpyansa sa akin eh kasi sabi niya ready lang palagi sa pinapasa niya.
“Alam niya na lahat ng defense sa kanya pupunta. Mao-open ako dahil lahat ng tao sa kanya pupunta. Kaya pinapractice ko yung three kasi sabi ni Paul [Desiderio],” Jaboneta expressed. “Nag-ensayo ako at pinakita ko sa training na worth it ako dito sa team.”
With hard work, patience, and the right crowd to inspire him on, Jaboneta proved his worth a spot in the UP Fighting Maroons.
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