CEBU CITY – After an acrimonious departure from Far Eastern University, Jovanie Luz may have finally found a home at Southwestern University, as shown by his heroics in the Cobras' 59-55 victory over the University of San Carlos Warriors in Game One of the Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Monday.
After an injury-racked stint in the elimination round, the man better known by his nickname 'John Lloyd' pounded the Warriors for 15 points on top of four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block capped by several clutch plays down the stretch.
Luz was naturally thrilled to finally have the chance to showcase his skills after spending a year buried behind former UAAP MVPs RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo in the FEU Tamaraws' backcourt.
“Pinaghandaan ko talaga yan ng sobra-sobra. Nung first at second round kasi, hindi talaga ako nakalaro kasi may injury ako,” said the 20-year old in an interview with Spin.ph prior to Game Two on Tuesday.
“Hindi po ako nag-relax kahapon. Every time na nasa court po ako, ginagawa ko lang lahat ng tama para sa team. Yung mga nai-shoot ko, blessings na ni Lord sa amin 'yun,” said the soft-spoken cager from Agusan del Norte.
Luz had played with the FEU Baby Tamaraws in high school and made the varsity squad last season until bad grades and an incident he chose not to comment on led him to be relegated to the Tamaraws' Team B.
However, SWU came calling and Luz responded.
Still, the young guard said he always kept in mind the basketball lessons learned from Morayta and it is now paying dividends in his stint in the Cebu league.
“Yun lang talaga ang malaking diperensya – yung hindi talaga dapat mag-relax at naka-focus palagi. Sinabihan na ako dati ng coaches ko nung sa FEU pa po ako. Laking pasalamat ko sa kanila at lalo na sa mga coaches ko ngayon dahil kahit rookie pa lang ako dito, malaki na ang tiwala nila sa akin,” Luz said.
When told about Luz’s recent success, his former head coach at FEU, Nash Racela, was the least bit surprised.
“Happy for him. Not really surprised because he is a hard worker. We both made a good decision for his career,” said Racela.
When asked how he felt about his nickname which is coined after famous actor John Lloyd Cruz, Luz let out a hearty laugh and credited his former high school coaches Michael Oliver and Allan Albano for giving him the catchy moniker.
“Sila nagpangalan sakin niyan! Juniors year ko sa FEU pa 'yang John Lloyd,” added Luz.