MANILA – Desperate for a breakthrough in the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament, Emilio Aguinaldo head coach Ariel Sison dug deep into his bench in search for a spark.
What the coach found instead was something bigger – Sison may have just unearthed the future of the Generals.
Benched in their loss to San Beda last Tuesday, JP Maguliano played the game of his life just three days later as he led EAC to a 79-77 upset of San Sebastian for their first win of the season.
The forward out of Isabela finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds – incredible numbers from a player who averaged only 2.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in their previous contests.
With his effort, Maguliano earned the NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week award.
"Benching him in our last game, he delivered today," said Sison. "Good for the team, na hindi lang kami nagre-rely sa first group."
Maguliano was a walk-in for EAC, after struggling to earn a spot in Adamson University's basketball team. The 19-year-old would find his way to the Generals' tryout where he began to get his priorities straight.
"Nawawalan na ako ng pagasa, kasi magte-third year na po ako sa Adamson noon," he shared. "Nagkakabagsak po ako. Parang wala nang patutunguhan.
"Sabi ko, mag-tryout ako sa EAC. Kapag pinalad, magfo-focus ako dito," he added.
After showing what he is capable of, Maguliano is hopeful that he can continue to impress.
"Sana po, magtuloy-tuloy na ito," he said.
Maguliano edged out reigning MVP CJ Perez of Lyceum, Bong Quinto of Letran, and the San Beda pair of Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon for the weekly award.
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