LJ Gonzales deflected the credit to his teammates after winning Finals MVP honors following Far Eastern University's sweep of National University in the UAAP Juniors title series.
Gonzales was a force for the Baby Tamaraws despite foul trouble, scoring he 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter while also adding three rebounds and six assists.
Gonzales’ late heroics enabled the Baby Tamaraws to fight back from 10 points down, but the player from San Mateo, Isabela deflected the credit.
“Sobrang saya na nakuha ko ‘to,” said Gonzales. “Hindi ko naman makukuha ‘to kung wala sila coach at ‘yung mga teammates ko na sumusuporta sa amin.”
Gonzales drove to the basket with reckless abandon, but also made good decisions. His pass to an open RJ Abarrientos, instead of forcing a shot, led to a triple that gave the Baby Tamaraws a 68-65 lead.
Among the role players, Gonzales made special mention of big man Kenji Roman.
“Dahil kay Kenji Roman, kapag ball screen, drive ka sabi niya. Kapag wala, balikan kita. Ginawa ko ‘yung best ko,” said Gonzales.
The FEU playmaker came back strong after picking up his third foul in the first quarter.
“Malaking bagay ‘yung na-foul trouble si LJ,” said FEU coach Allan Albano. “Walang nagpepenetrate to create. Buti nakabawi siya sa foul trouble. Fourth quarter, kailangan namin ng penetrator. Buti naka-catch-up siya.”