University of the Philippines’ Filipino-American student-athlete Andrew Harris was hyped when he entered the UAAP during its 76th season.
The 6’4 center was averaging just 1.1 points and 3 boards per game in 8.8 minutes of action during his first two seasons. Because his low production, some pundits have written him off after two seasons with the Fighting Maroons.
In this young UAAP season, the Fighting Maroons have stunned majority of the pundits in being one of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the league. Last Wednesday, during UP’s wire-to-wire victory against the De La Salle Green Archers, Andrew Harris, who only played 12 minutes during their opening weekend match-up against the UE Red Warriors, was fielded in for 16 minutes, including crunch time.
During the waning moments of the game and with DLSU in the midst of a blitzing rally, Harris missed two free throws that would have given the Diliman cagers a 67-61 lead. The team was fortunate to have crashed the boards with Harris going back to the free throw line to redeem himself. “Dang! I have the second chance to make these free throws, I got to make it! I want to it for UP, I want to do it for the community. I took my sleeves off and just thought of being in practice,” the 22.2% career free throw shooter recalled.
“I needed to calm myself down because I was nervous during the first free throws. I was never put in that position, I need to make these.” Alas, Harris made the free throws that helped seal the win for the now 2-0 Maroons.
Harris was all over the court during the game as he intensely crashed the boards and fought through the frontline of fellow Filipino-American Abu Tratter, Gilas Cadet member Prince Rivero, and former UAAP Finals MVP Jeron Teng during box out situations. The big man ended the game with just four points but had nine huge rebounds against a tough Green Archer frontline.
“I know Andrew Harris, especially the heart of Andrew Harris. There are a lot of coaches who play down sa kanya for his abilities. For me, I like those guys. Every time I give him the opportunity, he grabs that opportunity,” rookie head coach Rensy Bajar said of Harris. Moreover, Bajar commended the work of Harris even during the times he was just playing short minutes for his squad. “The heart of Andrew is very big especially on the defensive side. Kung ano man ang minutes na nakukuha niya, it’s because he earned it especially during in practice.”
The Filipino-American student-athlete was ecstatic when Tiebreaker Times told him what his mentor told the members of the press during the post-game scrum, “that makes me happy that he admires my heart and my hard work,” he said with a huge smile.“Coach [Rensy Bajar] always tells me of how much he trusts me. He was expecting me to play in these type of games and that I can deliver.”
For him, this was a testament to the his and his teammates’ sacrifice in enduring the everyday grind of balancing training and academics. “Everyday, I just put the work in and play defense. I just do my job and thankfully coach is realizing that’s what I do, it’s my passion. I play everything out, ball is life for me,” He added, “we had to make sacrifices and its paying off right now.”
Sitting atop the standing with a 2-0 slate, Harris, just like the other Maroons, believe that they belong where they are right now. “I’m not surprised by now. We worked hard for this. We belong where we at right now.”
Andrew Harris and the UP Fighting Maroons have a tough task at hand as they face the University of Santo Tomas in the battle of the undefeated tomorrow at 2:00pm. The game will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
No Rest for the Weary: Lady Spikers head to training immediately after Lady Bulldogs loss
Why did Jho Maraguinot and Maddie Madayag change numbers?
Mark Dyke back in La Salle
Jho Maraguinot powers Ateneo past UE with all-around showing
Lady Spikers survive Lady Tamaraws to take solo first
Jeremiah Rocha-less Ateneo blank UST to inch closer to the Final Four
Air Padda takes aim at poor officiating: ‘You need to be perfect as a ref’
Adamson averts another UE upset, snaps two-game skid
- Basketball5 days ago
Arwind Santos on Game 3 loss: ‘May mga shadow yung players kanina, yung lima nagiging walo’
- DLSU4 days ago
Shannon Arthur, La Salle edge UP, near third straight Finals appearance
- Mixed Martial Arts4 days ago
Kevin Belingon headlines Heroes of Honor card
- AdU4 days ago
Practice may have been Adamson’s secret weapon but Jerome Yenson is their ‘lethal weapon’