WARREN Bonifacio said he opted to stay with Mapua out of loyalty to the school that recruited him and gave him the break he needed.
The 19-year-old Bonifacio confirmed he is not moving elsewhere and will remain with Mapua, staying with the team where he won a juniors championship in the NCAA in 2016.
“Inaalagaan kami hanggang ngayon kaya gusto ko maglaro sa Mapua,” said Bonifacio.
The San Simon, Pampanga native said it was the Red Robins who picked him up after he tried out for another school.
“Sinabi sa amin na baka hindi kami mala-lineup. Sila (Mapua) ‘yung tumanggap sa amin,” said Bonifacio, who was a member of last season’s Mythical Five and Best Defensive Teams.
Bonifacio, who averaged 11.5 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks for the Red Robins in the 2017 NCAA wars, stands a good chance of making it to the Cardinals roster for Season 94.
So far, he has started in two of the Cardinals’ offseason tournaments and has joined the regular practices with the seniors team.
The 6-foot-5 Bonifacio said he has been playing not just the power forward position but also the small forward spot during the offseason tournaments as he looks to expand his game under head coach Atoy Co, who incidentally has Red Robins head coach Randy Alcantara as his assistant.
“Tres, kwatro na ako. Ngayon, pinapalakas ko ‘yung dribbling skills at shooting skills ko. Ngayon kasi, marami ng malalaki na tumitira ng tres. Kaya gusto ko matuto para makapaglaro ako ng iba’t ibang posisyon.
“Gusto niya itulad niya ako kay (Kevin) Durant. Malaki na nagdi-dribble,” said Bonifacio, when asked what Co has been telling him.
Bonifacio, however, remains grounded, knowing that he has a lot to learn as he moves to the college game.
“Kailangan talaga pagtrabahuan,” Bonifacio said.