(Notes: Spin.ph scribe Reuben Terrado happily shared to me that the Mapua Red Robins are a tough team this season and encouraged me to discuss more of their game).
Warren Bonifacio’s game seems to be getting better when the Mapua/Malayan High School of Science Red Robins were in the middle of a six-game winning run.
And that was midway in the second round of the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) junior basketball wars.
(Warren Bonifacio watches a play in progress).
As one of the veteran players of the Mapua Red Robins, the 6’4 Bonifacio had a chance to prove his worth during a crucial moment of a game.
It took place in their 92-82 win over the University of Perpetual Help Junior Altas last Aug. 25.
The Letran Squires were in a turning point in their campaign.
Any setback at this stage of the eliminations was already putting their effort to reach the Final Four in trouble.
(Ongoing scenario: Last Sept. 30, the Malayan High School of Science Red Robins are back in the finals.The second seeded Red Robins relied on a decisive stops in the fourth period to move out of range, and turn back the La Salle Greenhills Greenies, 88-81, in their Final Four showdown at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.Transferee Will Gozum, who took over underneath after big man Sherwin Concepcion got sidelined by a left shoulder injury, made a gamehigh 16 points, including two charities that move them out of range, 79-71, in the last 4:10.In the other Final Four clash, point guard Jayson Danas scored 10 points, including three crucial free throws in the closing seconds to help the Arellano University Braves escape with an 89-84 triumph over the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs. Juaquin Garcia and Romuel Junsay added 12 for the Red Robins, with Garcia leading a 6-0 run that broke a 63-all tie in the start of the last period with a jumper).
- Mapua 92, Letran 82
This was win no. 2 of their six-game winning streak.
(Sherwin Concepcion (left)).
This gave them a 10-2 win-loss record in second place behind the Arellano University Braves and the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs.
Both the Braves and the Red Cubs are locked in a two-way tie for the lead in this stage of the elimination round.
In another junior game of the day, the La Salle Greenhills Greenies prevailed over the Letran Squires, 71-69, to move to third place at 9-3.
The Altas were led by Jielo Razon and Errol Bongay, who both had 18 points. Bongay had a double-double with 13 rebounds.
- Bonifacio steps up
They were enjoying a 15-point lead, 83-68, with 6:52 to go in the fourth after Clint Escamis scored on a split free throw off Bongay’s foul.
The Junior Altas launched a 14-0 uprising, starting with Bongay’s putback, and after a couple of triples from Rob Mendoza and Razon, they came close, 82-87.
This was where Bonifacio came into the picture.
Bonifacio, who is from San Simon, Pampanga, averages 5.2 points 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks after nine games in the first round.
He struck from underneath with a layup off Bryan Samudio’s pass, and then a three-point play in the last 1:18.
(Red Robins coach Randy Alcantara).
The Red Robins went on to post a 91-82 edge.
After that, the Junior Altas were not able to sustain their rally, with Razon and Bongay misfiring on their outside shots.
As Mike Enriquez finalized the count with his split charity, the Junior Altas went on to end the game with a 4-8 slate.
“Sabi sa akin ni coach(Randy Alcantara), kumpiyansa lang. Pag libre, tira na,” stated Bonifacio, who is in 11th grade, and is now the team captain.
-The best of Warren Bonifacio
Bonifacio is on his third year with the team, and is the youngest of four siblings.
He is ranked ninth among his teammates in playing averages, with Romuel Junsay leading with 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
Among his best games were was against the Squires on Aug 9, when Bonifacio delivered 12 points and seven rebounds.
His other best game was when he also had 12 points, and made it a double-double with 15 rebounds during their 81-79 overtime win over the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers last Aug. 15.
(Here’s a link to my other story featuring Warren Bonifacio