DESPITE his struggles following his recovery from an ACL injury, Kyles Lao is happy that his University of the Philippines team continues to trust him.
Lao proved a game-changer for UP on Sunday, scoring six points in the third quarter when the Maroons made an 11-0 run that broke a 36-36 deadlock against University of Santo Tomas.
UP coach Bo Perasol said Lao was just the spark the the Maroons needed in pulling off a 74-69 victory that kept their hopes of a Final Four appearance alive.
“I think that many of those who were able to contribute were inspired by what Kyles did. Hindi niya inaasahan na bubunutin ko siya. Lagi naming pinaguusapan na be ready,” said Perasol.
Sunday's performance was hands-down Lao's best since returning from an ACL injury he suffered in the summer of 2015.
“For me, it’s a mental thing,” said Lao. “It’s really a difficult process to get back from an ACL injury.”
Lao said he is humbled that the trust of his teammates and the coaching staff remained even though he struggled to regain his confidence, not to mention his top form.
“Nandun ‘yung trust ng teammates and coaches. Hindi pa rin nawawala ‘yung Kyles Lao na nakilala nila dati. Confident ‘yung coaches sa akin at mga tao sa akin, ako na lang ang hinihintay ng sarili ko. I just have to prove to myself and to the people na kaya ko pa rin,” Lao said.
“Malaking bagay sa akin na coming from an injury, nandun ‘yung support ng team especially kay coach,” added Lao.
A member of losing UP teams in the past, the former Rookie of the Year is happy to finally taste the winning feeling with the Maroons.
“I’m really happy for the team. Most importantly, we gave the fans the win they deserve. Eto ‘yung hinihintay ng fans,” said Lao.