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Manong’s ‘tough love’ on Penny Estacio pays off

De La Salle University finally come to life amidst a campaign that looked like it was heading toward premature oblivion.

After a start that saw La Salle lose six times in nine games, the Green Archers have built a three-game winning streak that has seen it improve its standing to 6-6 in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The latest result – a 63-58 win over National University – keeps the Green Archers in the Final Four mix and they were led by Penny Estacio, who produced 13 points behind 3-of-5 shooting from the three-point line in 19 minutes of action.

“We needed this win kasi we’re aiming to be in the Final Four. During the third quarter, hindi ko naman pinipilit yung game. Just like what coach (Derrick Pumaren) is saying, we need to trust each other,” said the erstwhile FEU Baby Tamaraw.

“Nagkataon lang talaga na ako yung nakaka-shoot and I’m just thankful for my teammates for always trusting me and of course my coach for always giving me the opportunity to play as a rookie.”

Estacio scored all of his points in the third period. While the 5-foot-11 guard has shown flashes of his potential in spurts throughout this Season 85, it is only now that he finally took charge and showed that he is a match-winner for the Green and White.

Indeed, this is the type of impact Pumaren has been wanting to see from his young guard. The two-time PBA champion coach has used Estacio frequently ever since he joined the La Salle program and the latter is slowly repaying the faith.UAAP85-MBB-PENNY-ESTACIO-2 Manong's 'tough love' on Penny Estacio pays off Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

#ReadMore  Evan Nelle goes AWOL in San Beda, looking at La Salle transfer

“Penny had a big third quarter. He gave us that lift that we needed. As I keep telling the guys, it’s the next man up. It’s Penny’s turn. He knows that he needs to step up this game,” said Pumaren.

“I’m hard on Penny because I expect a lot from him. I’m a very demanding coach. I try to push him. I’m hard on him. I know what he can do. The moment I stop talking to him, then he’s in trouble. He used to love that when I’m getting mad,” he continued.

“He has responded well. We have to give it to him too.”

For his part, Estacio fully understands that being given minutes on the floor is a privilege and not a right. He has the likes of Evan Nelle and Mark Nonoy to compete against for time on the court and he needs to work hard to retain the faith given to him by the coaching staff.

Games like these, though, will go a long way in helping him cement his place in a team that is yet to fully reach its potential this year.

“Syempre, it’s a big confidence booster for me as a player. Very thankful na rin ako kay coach kasi pre-season pa lang, pinu-push niya ako, china-challenge niya ako,” said the 19-year-old Estacio.

“I have to respond as a player. If nagstra-struggle ako, I need to do something about it. Every game, I just want to help my teammates, especially the seniors kasi minsan unhealthy kami. We have to step up talaga, yung mga young guys,” he continued.

“I’m just thankful for every opportunity na binibigay sa akin.”

La Salle still has University of the East and University of Santo Tomas on its calendar before it can start thinking of a place in the Final Four. Two more wins will be enough – notwithstanding results from other teams – for the Pumaren’s men to seal that fourth spot.

#ReadMore  McAloney-led Marinerong Pilipino takes down CEU to clinch top seed

The stakes are still high and the Green Archers has little room for error if they want to enter the postseason. More and more members of the team need to rise to the challenge if they want to achieve their lofty ambitions.

It was CJ Austria who sank the big three against Adamson University, EJ Abadam and Kevin Quiambao who came up big against University of the Philippines, and now it was Estacio’s turn to lead the group.

With the players having a newfound responsibility to turn things around, their head coach is hopeful that they consistently remain true to each other for them to complete their comeback.UAAP85-MBB-PENNY-ESTACIO Manong's 'tough love' on Penny Estacio pays off Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“I think the players talked among themselves too. They had a players’ meeting, learning and talking to each other that they should trust one another. I think that’s the big word there na nadala namin nung three games namin — trusting each other,” said Pumaren.

“In order for us to make it to the next round, the Final Four, we cannot just let our talent or individual talent play through it. We’re not gonna make it if we do that. It is more of a team effort talaga. Collective effort from each and everyone,” he added.

“Penny played well today but overall it’s a collective team effort. That’s where we want to go.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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