Jeramer Cabanag saw little playing time heading into the San Beda University Red Lions’ final game of the elimination round. The 5-foot-9 point guard was averaging a measly 7.0 minutes per game for 2.4 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.2 steals in 17 games played.
But once he got the opportunity, Cabanag seized it with all he had.
Last October 23, the defending champions held their annual seniors night, where all of the team’s graduating players started. In 19.5 minutes of game time, Cabanag did not disappoint, finishing with a career-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds and a steal – leading San Beda to an 80-72 win over the Perpetual Altas
“I was the one who recruited him from Bacolod and I do believe in his talent. Kaso after ng residency niya, naangat naman ako sa kabilang liga,” recalled decorated San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. “When I came back, he was in the reserve, kaya I really made it a point to put him in my lineup.
“Even though he has a little bit of problem with playing time because he is playing alongside [Robert] Bolick, you really have to appreciate his work ethic. He still comes in sa practice and takes his shots.
“And that’s the product of what he has been doing. He shot well from the three-point area. He has been shooting well and, more importantly, he is a good defender. Kung minsan nahihiya na ko sa kanya kasi playing alongside Robert is really tough. But I’m happy with the way he responded,” he added.
Cabanag made sure that he was not a one-hit wonder.
In a rematch with the Altas in the Final Four last October 26, Cabanag once again made a major imprint in the contest. Though he finished with just nine points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 18.3 minutes played, he went a team-high plus-21, as he made life difficult for Perpetual ace Edgar Charcos.
And his performance drew a rave review from Bolick himself, the reigning Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year.
“Isa din, gusto kong i-congratulate si Jeramer he really played well. Two games na, hindi siya nagagamit, pero yung positivity niya nandun palagi. Magaling naman talaga siyang player, control niya sarili niya. He’s picking his spots, plus-twenty one, grabe!” Bolick expressed after San Beda’s finals-securing win.
“I hope magtuloy-tuloy siya sa Finals.”
“Nahihiya nga ako, humihingi nga ako ng dispensa, but at least you saw how he plays if he is given an opportunity,” added Fernandez.
Cabanag is holding no grudges against Bolick or Fernandez. For the San Beda lifer, he just wants to help leave a lasting legacy to San Beda.
“Siguro sa akin, ginawa ko lang yung part ko. Sinuklian ko lang yung tiwala na binigay ni coach sa akin. Last year na namin kaya kailangan talaga namin maglaro para ma-inspire yung mga rookies namin,” he expressed.
“At least may maiiwan kami sa San Beda.”
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