HE once enjoyed the limelight as a contestant in a reality television show. Now, Elyzar 'Jolas' Paguia is again receiving deserved attention as a basketball player for Emilio Aguinaldo College.
A former Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition housemate who had cameo acting roles after his eviction, Paguia has now proven to be the constant veteran presence in his final playing year for the Generals in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The 24-year-old Bulacan native came through in the clutch anew for the resurgent Generals against Lyceum on Thursday when he scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead his squad to a 71-63 victory that leveled their win-loss record to 7-7.
“Jolas has been very steady for us,” Generals coach Gerry Esplana said of the senior slotman, who’s having his best season in his third and final year for the Generals, norming numbers of 10.4 points, 7.2 boards, 1.4 assists, and 1.8 blocks in 28.5 minutes.
Paguia has not only been steady, but also versatile for the Generals.
While the 6-foot-4 power forward is the league’s second-leading shot-blocker behind only MVP candidate Raymond Almazan, Paguia is also the Generals’ top three-point threat, leading his team with 24 three-point conversions in 14 games.
Paguia’s versatility complements fellow big man and Cameroonian import Cedric Happi.
“I encourage him to take his shots to open up the lane for Happi to operate inside,” Esplana said. “Magandang material ko si Jolas sa team kasi nailalabas ko.”
Apart from this season being his last year with the Generals, a shot at a breakthrough Final Four appearance motivates Paguia.
“Last year ko na kaya sabi ko sa sarili ko kailangan ko magpakitang-gilas,” said the MAPEH student, who plans to continue playing in the PBA D-League after he graduates. He played for Fruitas last year.
A showbiz comeback is also possible.
“Malay natin,” Paguia said. “May kumokontak pa rin naman ngayon kaya lang hindi ko lang ma-grab kasi (NCAA) season pa eh tapos may school.”