With MVP candidate Schonny Winston playing limited minutes due to injury, De La Salle rookie Penny Estacio answered Derrick Pumaren’s call and gave the Green Archers’ Final Four bid a much-needed boost.
The 5-foot-11 guard finished with a team-high 13 points, two rebounds, and two steals and steered the Taft squad to a crucial 63-58 win against the second seed NU Bulldogs on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
La Salle was only up by four after the first half, 32-28, when Estacio sparked a rally at the start of the second half and poured all of his 13 points in the third quarter.
“Very thankful ako kay Coach kasi preseason palang talagang pinupush niya ako, china-challege niya ako…and ‘yun nga, parang syempre I have to respond as well,” the FEU-D standout said.
“Nagstruggle ako and I have to do something about it.”
Prior to his breakout game, Estacio was only averaging 5.4 points in almost 18 minutes of action for the Green Archers.
“I’m hard on Penny kasi I expect a lot from him. I’m a very demanding coach, so I try to push him… I know what he can do,” shared the DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren.
With their third consecutive win, the Green Archers moved to solo fourth spot with a 6-6 record.
La Salle will try to strengthen its Final Four bid as the Green Archers take on the UE Red Warriors on Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.