AFTER playing in the shadows of star player Roi Sumang, Dan Alberto finally found the time to shine for University of the East on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old guard provided the heroics in the Red Warriors’ heart-pounding 69-67 win over defending champion De La Salle when he stole the ball from Almond Vosotros and completed a three-point play in the final 31 seconds that completed the team’s comeback from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit.
“Sumugal na rin ako eh,” Alberto said on the winning play. “Kusa na lang talaga. Pumasok din ‘yung lay-up ko. God’s grace talaga.”
UE coach Derrick Pumaren is just glad Alberto has been picking up the slack for the Warriors especially during their four-game winning run in the midst of the controversial benching of Sumang due to disciplinary action.
“He has been an underrated player,” said Pumaren of Alberto. “He is playing in the shadows of Roi Sumang. Not to take anything away from Roi, but he is also one guy who stepped up his game.”
Prior to the La Salle game, Alberto scored 10 points in the team’s lopsided win over Far Eastern University while giving stability to the Warriors’ backcourt during their winning streak.
“He has really run the show for us without Roi,” admitted Pumaren.
Alberto said he is just trying to play his role as back-up to Sumang, something each of his teammates has also been trying to do.
“Mas naglalaro kami as a team. Ginagawa lang namin ‘yung role ko. Kung ano lang ‘yung kaya kong gawin, ‘yun ang ginagawa ko. Sabi nga nila, mas malakas (ang kamay) kapag fist ang ginamit. ‘Yun ang mindset namin,” said Alberto.
Thanks to the winning streak against three teams inside the top four, the once-struggling Warriors still have their destiny in their hands right now as they only need to win over University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday to force a playoff for the No. 4 spot against the loser of the De La Salle-National University tussle on Saturday.
“Win talaga kami. Walang nothing to lose na feeling. One game at a time kami. Bigay lang namin ‘yung best namin. Bahala na si God,” said Alberto.