FEU-Dilimanís Gonzales makes another mark in SLAM Rising Stars

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 27, 2017 04:31 PM
FEU's Gonzales makes another mark in SLAM Rising Stars
REMEMBER THE NAME. L-Jay Gonzales did in the SLAM Rising Stars what he did in the UAAP Jrs. Finals.

L-Jay Gonzales is a name not known by many.

After all, the kid only emerged a month ago in the Finals of the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

There, Gonzales was at the forefront of Far Eastern University-Diliman’s two-game charge right through Nazareth School of National University.

Stuffing the stat sheet with averages of 9.5 points, eight assists, and 6.5 rebounds, he also claimed the Finals MVP award. No one in their right minds would argue that as in Game 1 alone, he tallied seven points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds – almost a triple-double in the Finals.

Even after then, the Baby Tamaraw was one of the last, if not the last, players announced to be participating in the 2017 SLAM Rising Stars.

Gonzales’ name was only announced to be on the list for the annual showcase of the best of the best young talent during the event’s press conference last week. Still, he was nothing but grateful to be included as he said, “Masayang-masaya po ako na kahit huli akong napili, nakapaglaro pa rin ako rito.”

Once he was on the floor last Sunday, however, the 18-year-old did nothing but prove that he belonged. Scoring all but two of his 11 points in the final frame to go along with a total of eight rebounds and three assists, he and UAAP Juniors Season MVP Juan Gomez de Liano proved to be the difference for Team Hype against Team Punks.

As is becoming clearer and clearer, Gonzales is diesel-fueled and needs time to heat up. That is exactly why it no longer came as a surprise that the 15-6 run in the final frame that turned a two-point deficit into a seven-point advantage for Team Hype was all because of him.

Asked if he sees himself as a clutch player, the FEU-Diliman stud humbly answered, “’Di ko po alam.”

He also added, “Siguro nga po, clutch, pero ‘di ko rin naman magagawa yung kung ‘di rin dahil sa teammates ko.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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