WINLESS after two games, AJ Coronel was pressed with a challenge of towing Perpetual Help to an all important victory in hostile territory.
The third year forward took the challenge by heart.
Coronel delivered the key baskets at clutch time to tow the Altas to a pulsating 63-60 win over host squad Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA Season 93 on Thursday in Intramuros.
Frustrated after seeing the Altas’ first win overturned and then bombed out by Jose Rizal University in their next game, Coronel knew the team had to make a statement, and what better way to get the breakthrough victory than play right at Mapua’s homecourt.
"Gustong-gusto namin e. Two games talo. Na-frustrate talaga kami sa Benilde, win na nawala pa. Kaya sabi ng coaches, kung gusto niyong manalo, dito dapat, gawin niyo rito," said Coronel who scored five straight points in clutch to keep the Cardinals at bay.
"Di ko ma-explain yung feeling e. Ngayon, nangingilabot ako. Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi unang panalo tapos home court pa nila. Kaya ginawa namin yung lahat. Tulong-tulong kami," he added.
Despite his heroics, Coronel played down his big shots, saying he owed those clutch plays to their fluid ball movement and execution down the stretch.
For his last three-pointer of the game with 1:22 left, the ball moved from side to side, allowing Keith Pido to slice inside before finding Coronel on the corner for the trey that gave the Altas a 60-56 lead.
"Di naman actually take charge. Sa amin kasi, kung sinong bukas, yun yung hinahanap. Swerte lang, ako yung nakita. Kaya ginawa ko para manalo yung team," he said.
Despite the rough start to their campaign, Coronel is still confident the Altas have what it takes to reach their goal of making the Final Four again.
With hard work, he's confident they can make it.
"Mataas yung kumpyansa namin. Nakikita sa training na gustong-gustong manalo. Minsan nga, dalawang beses pa kami mag-training para di kami mapahiya sa mga estudyante."