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Javillonar finally has his NU-FEU moment



Jeff Javillonar has been itching to return to the court after an ACL injury forced him to sit out the 77th season of the UAAP.

Javillonar, a member of the highly-regarded recruitment class of 2010, was just on the sidelines when the National University ended their 60 year drought, as the Bulldogs bested the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in three games. During that time, he most probably wanted to have his NU-FEU moment before he graduated.

Last Saturday, the National U senior had his moment. Coming into their do-or-die showdown with the favorites to win it all this season, Javillonar had just averaged 12.8 minutes per contest and a paltry 2.8 markers and 3.1 boards.

Prior to the big game, NU head coach Eric Altamirano assigned Javillonar to guard FEU’s Smart Elite ambassador Mac Belo. “Of course, we have a lot of guys that we matched up with him because Belo is hard to stop,” Altamirano said. “We were really matching Jeff with Belo [for the majority of the game].”

In 23 minutes of game time, the fifth-year FEU forward shot his season-worst 23% from the field (3/13), a far cry from his 45.2% average clip. Javillonar’s defensive stance bothered Belo for most of the game including NU’s biggest defensive stand. With ten seconds remaining in the game and the Bulldogs just up two, 70-68, Belo had the ball and was backing down Javillonar. Javillonar did not back down from the challenge that forced the Southeast Asian Gold Medalist to throw a tough fadeaway jumper that barely hit the rim.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Javillonar finally has his NU-FEU moment    Knowing that the Bulldogs needed to survive this game to at least send them to the playoffs, Javillonar admitted to Tiebreaker Times that it took hours and hours of film sessions to help him figure out the game of Belo. “Pinag-aralan ko po yung individual tendency niya na binigay sa amin,” Javillonar disclosed. “Ginawa ko lang talaga yung best ko na madepensahan siya.”

Moreover, during the last defensive stance of the Bulldogs, Javillonar did not let nervousness get to him. According to him, he simply followed the orders given to him. “Mindset ko lang ‘nun is ma-contain siya and ma-challenge po yung tira niya.” Coach Altamirano then added, “he did a good job on Belo, yun yung pinaka importante. We’re happy that we were able to contain him today.”

Javillonar also finished the game with nine markers, all three field goals coming from downtown. He admitted that he was overexcited and nervous at the same time going into the game. “May konting gigil na manalo since kailangan po namin yung laro na yun,” he admitted. He then added that his team and knowing that this will be his last collegiate playing year were his motivation coming into the game, “motivation ko siguro is kung ano man ang maitulong ko sa team in both ends and, at the same time, enjoy ko lang po yung game since last playing year ko na ngayon.”

In addition, he did not want to let his mentor and father-figure down, as Coach Altamirano and majority of his staff have been his coaches ever since his days with the Nokia U-16 team back in 2009. “Malaking tulong po sila coach sa akin kasi dito ko na na-develop yung skills ko at na build yung character ko both off and on the court,” he confessed. “Bukod sa basketball may life group din silang ginagawa para sa amin para ma-build kami.”

The recent FEU-NU tilt did not have the same stakes as a Finals series. But for Javillonar, it is a personal vindication for a moment he lost due to an unfortunate injury. And his breakout game could not have come at a better time for the defending UAAP champions.

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