Lyceum of the Philippines University has two things for sure in the unpredictable National Collegiate Athletics Association Season 99 men’s basketball tournament — depth and strategy.
The likes of team captain Enoch Valdez and menacing bruiser Shawn Umali allowed the Pirates to strengthen their bid for another Final Four appearance, if not an outright twice-to-beat incentive.
Yet this time, JM Bravo took his turn to be the hero for LPU.
The 6-foot-2 Bravo averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games as the Pirates extended their winning streak to four, enough for him to be hailed as the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week for the period 3 to 5 November.
Bravo edged out Jun Roque of University of Perpetual Help, Will Gozum of College of Saint Benilde, and Clifford Jopia of San Beda University for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
He had 12 points and nine rebounds in their tight 86-82 win over Mapua University last Friday before dropping 17 markers and four boards in their 85-79 win over reigning champion Letran Knights to push Lyceum into a two-way tie with the Cardinals at 10-3 for the No. 1 seed.
His heroics included three clutch treys down the wire against the Knights to give the Pirates the finishing kick they needed.
For Bravo, he draws confidence from his coaches’ trust to hit the big shots when it matters the most.
“For me, it’s all thanks to coach Gilbert Malabanan. The trust and confidence that he showed me. I will not put it to waste,” Bravo said.
He is Lyceum’s second best scorer with 11.85 points in 13 games behind Valdez.