MANILA, Philippines -- CJ Perez and the Marcelino twins get all the headlines, and Mike Nzeusseu is their pillar of strength inside the paint. But one of Lyceum of the Philippines University’s greatest strengths is their bevy of players who can step up at any given moment and shine.
On Thursday against a tough De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) team, it was veteran guard Reymar Caduyac who earned his time in the spotlight. Not usually known for his scoring -- Caduyac averaged only 5.5 points per game -- the guard scored six of his 10 points in the final two minutes to spearhead Lyceum’s 77-64 win.
How Caduyac scored those buckets were impressive: the stocky guard poached the ball from CSB rookie Justin Gutang on back-to-back possessions, and then scored on crafty drives to the hoop. He would finish with 7 assists and 5 rebounds in the game as well.
For Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson, Caduyac’s contributions to the Pirates cannot be measured just by his numbers. It is Caduyac who handles the ball for the Pirates in late-game situations, even though they have Perez and Jaycee Marcelino on the team.
“It’s about trust,” said Robinson. “Trusting that he’s gonna make big shots, make big decisions, and trusting also that he’s gonna mess up.”
“Yung mga ginagawa ni Caduyac, nakita niyo lang ‘yun ngayon, but you could have seen him when he was at his worst. But he’s still there, and again that’s because we believe in him as a team,” the coach added.
“CJ could easily get that basketball from him, but they trust Caduyac to make good decisions, and he always makes good decisions.”
That Caduyac can be so effective is a constant source of surprise to Robinson, who fondly refers to the guard as “Speedy Bagal.”
“What he lacks in physical ability, (in) speed, he makes up so much (by) being smart,” said the coach. “To be honest, the things that he does in games, I don't see them in practice. But, he's always full of surprises.”
Robinson said that few would think that Caduyac is their point guard, given how slow he is compared to the other lightning fast guards in the NCAA. But Caduyac has proven to be a master at running their offense -- he is the one who finds baseline cutters and whips crosscourt passes to open shooters.
“It’s just a blessing to have somebody like him,” said Robinson, even as he maintained that the third-year guard was “really slow, super slow.”
“But again, I just have so much love for that kid, and the future is so bright for him, and I'm sure that he's really gonna be a blessing to us as a team,” he added.
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