ROOKIE jitters hampered JV Gallego from playing to his full potential with National University in UAAP Season 79.
Not on Saturday, though.
The 18-year-old rookie out of Chiang Kai Shek College played his best game for the Bulldogs when he scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field in the 80-69 win over University of the Philippines.
NU coach Eric Altamirano came away impressed with his ward and said big things are ahead for Gallego as he believes in his potential.
“I could see JV being one of the top guards in the league in the future. But for now, he is going through the process, learning the system. Iba ‘yung high school, iba ‘yung college. Malaki talaga ‘yung adjustment,” said Altamirano.
Prior to his breakout game of the season, Gallego admitted nerves got the best of him early in his Bulldogs debut following his one-year residency.
“Aaminin ko, as a rookie, kabado ako. Iba talaga ang preseason sa UAAP. Kaya lagi akong nagpe-prepare at nag-wo-workout sa practice. Finally, lumabas ‘yung game ko ngayon,” said Gallego.
Altamirano said putting pressure on Gallego to perform is the last thing he wants to do to his prized recruit.
“When we got JV, we know what he can do. I don’t want him to be pressured and put him in the limelight right away. I want it to be a process for him that his time will come,” said Altamirano.
Altamirano said Gallego’s performance was timely since J-Jay Alejandro struggled with seven points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field.
“I’m really proud of him today. He stepped up big for us. At least, kung off si Jay (Alejandro), meron kaming JV,” said Altamirano.
Gallego said he took it upon himself to step up being part of the second unit of the Bulldogs.
“As a second unit, lagi kang ready kung ano ang gagawin ng first unit. Kailangan naming i-sustain or higitan pa. Nag-stay lang ako sa system. Suwerte lang na dumating ‘yung mga tira at mga puntos. Lagi naman akong ready,” said Gallego.
Gallego hopes to continue his improvement even as he vowed to work even harder to contribute for NU.
“Sana tuluy-tuloy na at ma-sustain ko,” said Altamirano.