With Guadana and Barba, Pirates' ship still headed for treasure island
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 30, 2020 06:36 PM
(Photo by Josh Albelda)
This year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will be the true test for Lyceum of the Philippines University as legitimate contenders.
Now without all of CJ Perez, MJ Ayaay, Mike Nzeusseu, and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee, the Pirates will have to prove they have both the capability and the confidence to build on their breakthrough from also-ran to title hopeful.
The good news for Intramuros is that it has already secured the services of its first homegrown stars - Mac Guadana and John Barba.
Those two connived a season ago to carry the Jr. Pirates to their first-ever Final Four and Finals.
Now, those two are nothing but hopeful to keep doing the same for what would be a new-look LPU Srs. squad. "Sobrang sarap po nung last season namin sa Jrs. Ako, anim na taon ko yung pinangarap kasi first five years ko, 'di kami naka-Final Four," Guadana recalled.
He then continued, "Nung last year namin, binuhos na namin lahat kaya naging ganun. Sana, tuloy-tuloy hanggang sa LPU (Srs.)"
Those two also made up two-fifths of the Mythical Team in the NCAA Jrs. "Sobrang blessed lang po namin. Ako po, team player naman talaga ako so yung mga ganun, extra na lang din yun," Guadana said after averaging 17.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.0 steals.
And the even better news for the Pirates? Their young cornerstones have got each other's backs no matter what.
In fact, after the first round of eliminations last year, Guadana was the frontrunner for MVP.
Ultimately, however, Barba managed to overtake him and eventually ended as the top individual player.
Still, Guadana was only proud of his partner-in-crime. "Deserve niya po yun. Kitang-kita natin kung paano siya naglaro," he said.
He then continued, "Talagang binigay niya best niya. Deserve ng kapatid ko po yun."
With that, LPU looks like it remains in good hands for now until the foreseeable future.
And Guadana and Barba vow to make sure the maroon and grey ship is still headed for treasure island. "Ibibigay po namin ang best namin. Walang magbabago," the former said.
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