Barely making lineup, Espeleta now proving worth for Adamson
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 07, 2016 05:50 PM
I CHOOSE YOU. Jonathan Espeleta was nearly not part of this year's Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Searching for a spark with all of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Rob Manalang, and Papi Sarr having off-games, Adamson University found just what they needed in Jonathan Espeleta.
The little-known rookie had six of his eight points, three five rebounds, and one of his two assists in the last six minutes to energize the upstart Soaring Falcons through defending champion Far Eastern University last Sunday.
And in the decisive moment of the game, it was also Espeleta who forced Tamaraw Monbert Arong into turning the ball over on a traveling violation. “Actually, Simon (Camacho), he was in the corner so it wasn’t just me. It was also him,” he said after the game.
Not only did the six-foot-one swingman spark their biggest win of the season, he also helped bring the San Marcelino-based squad one step away from their first Final Four since 2011. He isn’t taking any credit for it, however, as he said, “I just credit my teammates. They found me at the right spot at the right time and I just had to convert.”
However, Adamson is apparently already fortunate that Espeleta even had a chance to be at the right spot at the right time. “You know, Jonathan was the last guy that was included in the team. In fact, going into the last week (before the season), I was still contemplating on who will be included in the lineup,” coach Franz Pumaren shared.
He then continued, “Good thing for us because he showed us that he deserves to play.”
Indeed, just having a chance to play was all the Filipino-American from Maryland needed to fire himself up. “In the preseason, I had a hard time adjusting to coach’s system. I was doing my own thing until he really told me, ‘You’re gonna get cut, you’re gonna sit another year if you don’t follow,’” he recalled.
He then continued, “That’s when it really clicked. I just had to give in and just follow what he says.”
And now he owns and has proven his roster spot, Espeleta said he’s nothing but raring and ready to repay Pumaren’s trust. “Hardwork pays off. Just follow what coach says and he’ll take you places,” he expressed.
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