MANILA, Philippines – Javier Lucero received an MVP song from the crowd at the University of the Philippines after a crucial triple sink in the final two minutes of their match against Far Eastern University at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
With a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds, Lucero delivered his best performance to date as UP FEU lost 83-76, ending the UAAP season with six wins in the first round of the 84 men’s basketball tournament – the school’s longest winning streak. . 2004.
Filipino-American forward Fighting Maroons stopped Tamaraus’ late run with a clutch three-pointer at 1:50 for 76-70 breaths.
The UP crowd erupted as the MVP slogan descended on Lucero.
For the 6-foot-6 forward, it was flattering to hear such praise from school fans but he emphasized that it was the Maroons ’teamwork that made it to the first round with a 6-1 record for their second pick.
“It’s flattering, but as I said, we have one goal in this team. Everyone has the same goal, [and] That’s our specialty, “said Lucero, who fired 3-of-4 from deep. “There is no single compliment that can make a difference if we are not able to do what we set out to do. So as long as we focus on that goal, I like where I am. ”
Lucero said FEU’s uncertain 32-31 lead in the first half was a wake-up call for their team as he fired in the third quarter and poured 16 of his 27 points to keep UP ahead.
“We didn’t want to go to the second round because of the loss, so we came out and I thought we played really well in the second half,” he said. “We got out on a strong start, and then our boys made plays in the fourth quarter to keep them in the bay.”
After losing to Atenio on the first day with just two points, three rebounds and two assists, Lucero moved to a roll and emerged as UP’s stabilizer, winning six games in a row with an average of 17.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.0 steels and 0.8 blocks.
He blames coach Goldwin Montevard’s system and their teamwork for his success.
“I get a little more open-minded than some of the other boys, which allows me to stay on the scoreboard. But as far as I’m personally, I don’t do much on my own, “Lucero said.” I set up a lot with my boys, whether it’s a screen or not, Carl (Tamayo) removed my man from that screen for the last three. Maymay (Cagulangan) usually finds me in place. “
“It’s just that our team is really growing, and our chemistry is growing,” he added.
Lucero and the Maroons try to continue their winning streak against National University (4-3) on Holy Tuesday to start the second round.
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