JONATHAN Espeleta justified Adamson coach Franz Pumaren’s decision during the preseason to include him in the final lineup pay by stepping up in an important Sunday game against Far Eastern University.
Espeleta scored eight points off the bench, including six in the fourth quarter to help the Falcons defeat the Tamaraws, 61-59, and take a big step closer to a Final Four appearance.
The rookie also hit two clutch free throws with 1:42 left to put Adamson ahead, 60-55 - not bad for a Fil-American guard from Maryland who was the last to make the Adamson Falcons roster this season.
“He was the last guy that was included in the team,” said Pumaren. “In fact, going into the last one week, I was still contemplating on who will be included in the 16-man lineup.”
Espeleta has proven that he deserved the spot. Entering the game against FEU, he has been providing quality minutes, averaging 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for the Falcons.
“Basically, he showed us that he deserves to play and being a young kid, I think he is beginning to assume the responsibility during the stretch of the game, taking over and making those key free throws,” said Pumaren.
Pumaren is also not surprised that Espeleta hit the crucial charities in the end game.
“The day before the game, we always have a free throw shooting contest and he is always in the finals,” said Pumaren.