JUST a week into the NCAA Season 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament, graduating guard Jethro Mendoza has already given Emilio Aguinaldo College a moment to remember.
Mendoza hit the go-ahead layup with 1.5 seconds remaining as EAC pulled off a monumental 84-82 stunner over back-to-back runner-up Lyceum last Friday at Filoil Fying V Centre.
That game-winner alone was more than enough for the sweet-shooting guard to earn the season's first Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week.
Along with the shot that sank the league heavyweight, Mendoza poured eight of his team-high 21 points in the closing stretch, towing the Generals to their first win against the Pirates since 2016 and biggest triumph overall since beating eventual champion Letran back in 2015.
He buried six triples to anchor his scoring explosion and also tallied four rebounds, two assists, and a steal against zero turnovers in 26 minutes of action.
“Sabi lang namin, atin ‘to, lalaban tayo hanggang matapos. Kahit na nakakahabol na sila, gawin lang namin ‘yung tama,” said Mendoza, who made sure EAC repelled Lyceum’s fightback from 18 points down.
It also helped that first-year head coach Oliver Bunyi has full trust in his deadshot shooter.
“I was telling them, even if Jethro is doing 0-of-10 in the first part, I will still trust him to take the ball outside. That’s his job. ‘Yun naman, naging successful siya,” said Bunyi.
Mendoza bested Jerrick Balanza of Letran, RK Ilagan of San Sebastian, Jaycee Marcelino of Lyceum, Edgar Charcos of Perpetual, and the San Beda troika of James Canlas, Evan Nelle and Donald Tankoua for the weekly award handed out by scribes from print and online covering the beat.