DAMIE Cuntapay knows how important he is for San Beda that he had to be in his best behavior in its tense rivalry game against Letran on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5 bruiser didn't just heed coach Yuri Escueta's pleas. He also did more for the Red Lions.
Cuntapay caught the Knights off guard with his exceptional shooting from deep, going on a perfect 4-of-4 clip from distance to finish with 16 points and five rebounds in the Red Lions' 91-77 victory.
[READ: San Beda hits 14 treys in romp over Letran]
This improved perimeter game really shouldn't come as a surprise, he said.
"Pinraktis ko naman yun," he said. "Kung di siya pumapasok, parang walang kwenta yung pina-practice ko. Kaya talagang ititira ko yun kasi alam kong pina-practice ko siya. I just keep on practicing lang sa outside shooting ko."
Cuntapay has been one of the better shooters for San Beda this NCAA Season 98, going on a 36-percent clip from distance before this game.
Yet him polishing his stroke from deep was just an added facet for the Red Lions all the more as they seek to secure one of the top two spots in the Final Four.
Still, Cuntapay's presence in the paint was his biggest worth for the Red Lions that he understands that he can't really let his emotions get the best of him.
"Sabi ni coach bawasan ko yung antics ko. Important yung game na ito at di pwedeng mawala ako," he said, keeping a cool demeanor as he battled against Louie Sangalang and Pao Javillonar.
"Yun lang ang iniisip ko, na kailangan wag ko lang pansinin at bawian ko na lang sa laro. Pag nanalo kami, masaya naman lahat. Sana happy si coach na di ako bumawi ngayon. Mabait na ako."
And Cuntapay looks to keep it that way with two more games left in San Beda's eliminations schedule.
"Sobrang laki ng impact ng game na ito dahil parang ito na yung boost namin," he said, shifting his attention to the Red Lions' next duels against Jose Rizal University and St. Benilde.
"May chance pa kami mag-top two at sa next two games namin, dadalhin namin itong panalo na ito and keep on focusing lang."