MANILA -- San Beda ended its first round run in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament as the second seed, thanks in large part to Jomel Puno's impact.
Only in his rookie year, the high-leaping Puno powered the Red Lions to a perfect 3-0 record in the past seven days, producing double-doubles in each victory.
With this, Puno was named this week's Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week behind solid averages of 13.0 points and 13.3 rebounds.
Puno was chosen ahead of Mapua's Clint Escamis, Jose Rizal University's Marwin Dionisio, EAC's Ralph Robin, and College of Saint Benilde's Robi Nayve for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
The Filipino-Canadian has helped the Red Lions win their last four games, hiking their record to 7-2 behind league-leading Mapua University (8-1).
Puno, who was recommended to San Beda head coach Yuri Escueta by TNT guard Jayson Castro, produced his best game so far against Perpetual Help last Tuesday, with 12 points and a tournament-high 17 rebounds against the Altas.
He followed it with a 16-point, 11-rebound performance against San Sebastian, then capped the week by scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 boards against Emilio Aguinaldo College.
While Escueta lauded Puno's efforts for San Beda, the coach believes there is more to come for their young big man.
"Jom playing as a 3 is always an advantage for us. His activity in crashing the boards, his length and athleticism is an advantage for us," the second-year coach said.
"That's the reason why we took him and he knows it. We think it's a blessing for the basketball community for him to go to San Beda instead of other schools. I'm sure he can do more."
Puno, on the other hand, said his performances were all due to his readiness to contribute for the Red Lions.
"I just know my role coming into a game. I do whatever it takes to win. I really focused on positioning myself and time my rebounds just to help my team out."