By: Rom Anzures
Mapua High School guard Nygel Gonzales was on fire during their NCAA Season 98 Juniors’ Basketball campaign, scoring a career-best 21 points in their game against Letran.
Despite his impressive performance, Gonzales was more focused on getting a win to extend the Red Robins’ season, and give their team another chance to play in the NCAA Juniors division.
Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed as they were eliminated by Letran, 83-78, in the tournament’s Final Four.
But Gonzales is opting to look at a silver lining – it will be his ticket into an eventual seniors stint.
“Para sa’kin, naging A-game ko ‘to, nakabawi ako sa mga past na mga talo. Pero ayun nga, we fell short, talo pa ‘rin kami. So that means kailangan ko pang mag-improve,” said the 6-foot-2 guard from Lipa City, Batangas
“Going into the seniors, mas paghahandaan ko pa.”
Gonzales admits that one of the biggest lessons he will bring into the future is not being complacent with early success until the job is finished.
“We started off 4-0, tapos sobrang gutom namin sa panalo, sobrang gutom namin sa depensa. (Kaso) masyado kaming nag-relax. Yung 4-0 pumasok sa ulo namin, so kung may lesson man na naituro sakin itong season na ‘to, eh wag makampante tiyaka go hard lang hanggat hindi natatapos yung season,” he lamented.
Gonzales has yet to decide on where he will play once he reaches the collegiate level, but he knows what he is seeking – a team that will give him the opportunity to showcase his full arsenal and capabilities.
“Yung gagamitin ako. Walang kaso sakin yung offer offer or ano yung school, gusto ko lang ma-laro ko yung pinaka gusto kong laro,” he said.
Other NCAA schools have contacted Gonzales aside from Mapua, but his focus, for now, is to finish his studies as a graduating grade 12 student.
“Sa ngayon wala pa kong plano na lilipatan na school or mag-stay ng Mapua, then may mga nagme-message naman, like Letran, EAC, San Beda. Ang gusto ko lang muna ngayon, magpahinga, tapusin yung school works, tsaka mag-ensayo.”
Gonzales, who averaged 11.27 points, 3.27 rebounds, and 4.36 assists for the fourth-seed Red Robins, is ready to take on new challenges and is looking forward to what the future holds for him.