MANILA -- Lyceum of the Philippines University continues to flaunt its depth in the NCAA Season 99 men's basketball tournament.
After team captain Enoch Valdez and bruiser Shawn Umali, it was JM Bravo's turn last week to be the hero for the Pirates as they continue their march for a place in the Final 4 and a possible twice-to-beat bonus.
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 Nov. 3 to 5.
He edged Jun Roque of Perpetual, Will Gozum of Benilde, and Clifford Jopia of San Beda for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
Bravo 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.
"Para sa akin, sobra ang pasasalamat ko kay coach Gilbert sa tiwala. 'Yung tiwala niya, hindi ko sasayangin, 'yan ang lagi kong sinasabi sa kanya," said Bravo,Lyceum's second best scorer with 11.85 points in 13 games behind Valdez.
"Binibigyan nila ako ng motivation na gawin ko lang ang ginagawa ko sa loob ng court."
Malabanan expects the Pirates to continue their selfless plays and unpredictability as they aim not only for a Final Four slot but also a potential twice-to-beat incentive.
"Mas maganda nga 'yung ganun na hindi alam ng kalaban kung sino ang babantayan. So magko-concentrate sila sa team defense," Malabanan said.
"That's the good thing about us. Kahit sinong ipasok mo, ready naman dyan. Medyo flat lang sa simula pero kapag uminit naman, okay naman sila."