THE last thing Byron Villarias had in mind the minute he stepped inside the court for Jose Rizal University’s game against Fruitas in the PBA D-League Tuesday afternoon was to score.
After all, he was coming off a scoreless stint in the Heavy Bombers’ last outing against Café France.
And so surprises of surprises, Villarias came out like a ruthless assassin in torching the league’s all-time record for points scored when he tallied 36 points in a 100-64 JRU blowout of Fruitas.
“Kahit anong binato ko pumasok,” said Villarias, a noted streak shooter who once exploded for 35 points for JRU in last year’s Philippine Collegiate Champions League.
“Ako hindi ko naman iniisip na umiskor. Iniisip ko rin dumepensa.”
But scoring definitely in his genes.
The JRU stalwart comes from a well-known basketball clan in Iloilo. His father Tiwy is the brother of former PBA players Vernie and Victor Villarias, whose sister is the mother of former PBA Rookie of the Year Bong Ravena, making Byron the uncle of Ateneo top gun Kiefer Ravena.
Ravena also happens to be a good friend and contemporary of JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
Villarias’ scoring output eclipsed the previous league mark of 32 points set by Jopher Custodio of Cagayan Valley during the 2012 Foundation Cup. He also broke the same record of 32 Carlo Lastimosa of Fruitas made just this conference.
When told about his scoring feat, Villarias laughed and said, “Wala akong masabi. Suwerte lang talaga. Sana magtuloy-tuloy.”
Vergel Meneses, himself a mean scorer during his playing days, was amazed as Villarias sank one basket after the other. Villarias hit 7-of-9 from three-point range, went 5-of-9 from the two-point area, and hit all five shots from the foul line.
“Nangyayari talaga ‘yun,” Meneses said. “Kahit anong tira niya, pumapasok.”