09 Aug. 2016,
FilOil-Flying V Sports Center,
Warren Bonifacio is one of the veteran players of the Mapua Red Robins.
His game started picking up in the start of the second round.
A hamstring injury on his left limb had him struggling for five games.
(Red Robin cager Warren Bonifacio is double-teamed by Letran’s Patrick Boffa (10) and Keifer Cordero(7)).
His case is not like that of guard Mike Enriquez, who missed most of the first round after suffering from an injury on the heel of his left foot from a pre-season tuneup game.
“Ngayon lang ako bumabawi. Na-injure kasi left hamstring ko. Hindi ako masyado nakalaro. Ngayon lang bumabalik ang kundisyon ko,” said the 18-year old Bonifacio.
Warren, the team’s 6’4 center, talked about his recover way back in Aug. 9 when the Red Robins stormed past the Letran Squires, 74-55.
(Romuel Junsay is hounded by a Letran opponent).
At that time, it was the start of the second round of the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Junior Basketball Tournament at the FilOil-Flying V Sports Center in San Juan.
Their game came after the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs won over the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers, 79-69, to move up the standings for a share of no. 1 with the Arellano University Braves.
Here, Robi Nayve led the Red Cubs with 19 points while Sam Abu Hijle had 13, and Pedro Alfaro added 12.
(Sherwin Concepcion tries to get past Letran guards).
Because of this, the Red Robins moved into second spot in the team standings.
“Sabi sa akin ni coach. Kumpiyansa lang. Pag libre, tira na,” added Bonifacio, now the team’s designated team captain following the temporary absence of Enriquez.
Bonifacio, who is from San Simon, Pampanga, averages 5.2 points 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks after nine games in the first round.
(Clint Escamis dribbles his way past 2 Letran Squires).
This ranks him ninth among his teammates in playing averages, with Romuel Junsay leading with 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
But against the Squires, Bonifacio delivered 12 points and seven rebounds.
During the game, Junsay topscored for 25 points while Sherwin Concepcion had 12, along with Clint Escamis, Jasper Salenga and Bonifacio.
(Jasper Salenga (11) goes for an attack while Letran’s Kobe Monje (11) and Keifer Cordero (7) prepares to stop him).
In their game that day, Bonifacio’s defensive rebound, with the Red Robins trailing, 13-14, set them up for two scoring opportunities at the end of the first period.
A layup from Bryan Samudio, followed by a three from Bryan Lacap handed the Red Robin the upperhand, 18-14, at the end of the period.
Bonifacio scored seven points in the last 4:51 of the second period, and during a 18-4 blast which gave the Red Robins a big 36-18 spread afterwards.
(Joaquin Garcia (17) keeps an eye Letran’s Jovito Tamayo).
For coach Randy Alcantara, he feels thankful for the win, and he feels that their position is secure, and they have to keep it that way for the rest of the second round.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, at least naramdaman nyo ang situation na tina-trap, para may experience kami sa ganun. Buti naman, nalusutan namin sila,” said Alcantara.
Coach Randy said he does not expect Warren to give much on points, but more on his defensive skills, in terms of rebounds and shot blocks.
(Mike Enriquez (9) looking for an open man, while caught in a double team).
“Hindi siya masyado sa points. Bonus na lang iyun,” added Alcantara.
(as of this writing, the Mapua Red Robins turned to the gamelong brilliance of point guard Mike Enriquez to upset last year’s finalist, the Arellano University Braves, 84-71, in their Sept. 16 game. Enriquez has shown complete recovery from a foot injury that sidelined him in the first round. He struck with his season’s best of 28 points to lead the Red Robins to their 13th win in 16 games. The reversal put them in contention for the second twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four semifinals. This dropped the Braves to a share of third place with the La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers at 13-4).