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    Brutas leads from the front as Diliman shows it belongs in D-League

    Apr 30, 2019
    PHOTO: Dante Peralta

    ALL Diliman College-Gerry's Grill wanted when it joined the 2019 PBA D-League was to prove that it belonged.

    Six games later and the Blue Dragons are on an even 3-3 card in the Foundation Group, with an outside shot of making it to the playoffs if they get a favorable draw in their final three games.

    That only puts a smile in the face of coach Rensy Bajar, who's at the forefront of the team's surprising performance in the developmental ranks.

    "Since Day One, we know that we're just a small school but we have a good program. I think every time we play, we tellour players that whatever happens, we'll have to play good basketball and compete with whoever it is we're facing," he said.

    Much of the spotlight has been placed on the solid play of Beninese big man Kevin Gandjeto, who has been Diliman-Gerry's Grill's rock down low.

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    But equally deserving of the praise is incoming senior Joseph Brutas, who has shown no fear of taking the big shots for the Blue Dragons.

    "Joseph is our go-to guy down the stretch. Nake-carry over niya yung defense niya into offense," said Bajar.

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    That was the case again on Tuesday as Brutas buried a pair of triples to douse Wangs Basketball's rally from 23-points down, turning an 80-72 lead into a commanding 78-64 margin near the end of the third frame.

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    Diliman-Gerry's used that spurt to put the game away and score the 108-95 victory.

    "Naglaro lang kami ng naglaro until the end. Hindi kami sumuko," said the 20-year-old sniper. "Sabi sa amin ni coach, kahit anong mangyari walang susuko sa game. Push lang kami ng push."

    Brutas' performance isn't really that too far off with how the Blue Dragons operate collectively, with Bajar putting emphasis on the team rather than just one star player.

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    "The way our team goes, it's not all about Gandjeto, it's not all about Brutas. Everybody plays good defense and yun ang pinagkakaabalahan namin and we're happy na nagi-step up lang ang mga players namin," he said.

    The results speak for themselves. Diliman-Gerry's has a chance to finish in the top four of its group and make it to the playoffs - exactly what Brutas aspires for in the Blue Dragons' maiden foray in the D-League.

    "Yun naman ang goal namin every league, make it to the top four and then finals. Kaya malaking bagay sa amin ang mga ganitong panalo lalo na para sa standings dahil kailangan naming umakyat," he said.

    "Pero kailangan pa namin magdagdag pa ng hardwork sa practice."

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    PHOTO: Dante Peralta
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