Prince Caperal is one of the few bright spots for Arellano in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but has not received the deserved spotlight due to the Chiefs’ middling performance that has seen them fall on the brink of elimination after being tagged as preseason favorites.
But the solid, consistent showing of the 20-year-old slotman from San Mateo, Rizal certainly has not gone unnoticed by scouts as he is one of the select collegiate standouts invited to be part of the training pool where the national team to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games will come from.
The 6-foot-6 fourth-year center is one of only two stalwarts – the other being Letran’s Raymond Almazan – from the country’s oldest collegiate league to be chosen for the 19-man pool, which came mostly from the more popular UAAP league.
“Nagulat nga ako,” Caperal said in a chat with Spin.ph after their 71-70 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College on Saturday. “Swerte ako kasi pili lang yung mga college na player na nai-invite dun. Confidence booster yun.”
Already averaging solid numbers of 10 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks in 25.8 minutes in the first round, Caperal turned it up a notch in the second.
His emergence was none more evident than in a four-game stretch in the second round where he averaged 17.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 30.3 minutes.
Against the Generals, Caperal registered 14 points and six rebounds in 36 minutes in a victory that improved their win-loss record to 6-9.
“Tiwala ng mga teammates sa akin yun,” Caperal said. “Pag na sa akin yung play, talagang binibigyan nila sa akin at si coach Koy (Banal) binibigyan rin ako ng kumpiyansa, na sinasabi niya na, ‘Gawin mo lang laro mo.’”
"Prince is working doubly hard in practice, even doing extra in the evening," Banal said. "I was not surprised to know that he is included in the national pool. He deserves it."