Season host Jose Rizal University appeared rattled in the aftermath of their overtime loss to the College of Saint Benilde in their second match of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament.
The highly intense battle ended with their main point guard, JL Delos Santos, being ejected after receiving two unsportsmanlike fouls. Delos Santos was set to be suspended for their game against the then-undefeated Mapua University.
To make matters worse, Converge – the PBA squad that drafted Delos Santos in the latest PBA rookie draft – released a statement expressing their disappointment in Delos Santos’ actions during the game.
“JL possesses the skills to be a remarkable floor general, yet the temper he displayed against CSB can be his Achilles’ heel. In the game of life, self-control and sportsmanship are as essential as any skill on the court,” said Converge coach Aldin Ayo.
Days after the troubling loss, Delos Santos’ unsportsmanlike foul was rescinded, and the lead guard helped JRU hand Mapua their first loss of the season.
“First things first, I know that JL should not have been suspended. It happened right in front of me; his first one should have been enough. We were checking the video, and if you go into details, there was some contact there. There seemed to be a ploy to make it look like we were being physical,” said Gonzalez.
“We play physical, but I want to clarify that we play physical, but we don’t play dirty. Perhaps that’s one thing the officials need to adjust. They should also scout our opponents to see if making us look like we play dirty is part of their tactics.”
The physicality of JRU’s squad is the cornerstone of their defensive intensity, which was evident in their win against Mapua. Down big entering the second quarter, JRU got back into the game on the defensive end by holding Mapua to just nine points in the quarter.
“It’s not the 23 points we focused on in the second quarter, but the nine points we gave up against Mapua. You know, my team plays a lot of defense, and we’re not rough. That’s for sure. We play with a lot of effort, and we make sure to cover all possible situations,” Gonzalez emphasized.
Gonzalez continued by sharing how much he values Delos Santos’ impact on the court as a leader and expressed appreciation for the league for reviewing the suspension of the JRU playmaker.
“Buti na lang, nakita talaga ng commissioner, and I commend the commissioner’s office for checking it out. Nakita naman talaga na JL did not hit anyone.”