Far Eastern University has always been known for its good, and even great, guards.
More often than not, those guards come to Morayta right from its high school.
The Tamaraws are bound to have another promising prospect in the backcourt with Baby Tamaraws standout L-Jay Gonzales committing to continue wearing green and gold. “Sa FEU pa rin po ako. ‘Di na ako aalis dito,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.
The 5-foot-10 guard has struggled with his shot thus far in the tournament, only shooting a 35.3 percent mark from the field, but has still been stuffing the stat sheet with averages of 13.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.5 steals.
His all-around game has drawn comparisons to reigning and defending NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. This, according to members of the selection committee for the NBTC Chooks-to-Go 24 where Gonzales has initially been ranked sixth.
Also, it wasn’t that long ago when the 18-year-old proved to be the difference for FEU-Diliman in the Finals against Nazareth School of National University. Then, he had near triple-double norms of 9.5 points, eight assists, and 6.5 rebounds – without a doubt, the most impactful player whenever he was on the court.
As such, Gonzales may very well be the latest in what has been a long line of good, and even great, Tamaraw guards including Johnny Abarrientos, Mark Barroca, RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, and Mike Tolomia.
While the Juniors tournament is still ongoing and the Seniors tournament is a long way away, Baby Tamaraws head coach Allan Albano said there is no reason not to believe that last year’s Finals MVP will be staying in Morayta. “Sinabi na nga niya and naniniwala ako sa kanya,” he said.
For Albano, Gonzales’ commitment is yet another testament to their basketball program which prioritizes developing talent from a young age. “Never naman kaming nagre-recruit. Blessing sa aming may darating na sinasabing blue-chip (player), pero sa program namin, galing naman talaga sa high school ang talent,” he said.
He then continued, “Kaya malaking tulong sa amin siyempre si L-Jay.”
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