JORDAN dela Paz was named after the greatest basketball player of all-time.
On Saturday night, the 20-year-old junior forward tried his best not to tarnish the name bestowed upon him.
Dela Paz pumped in a career-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half to propel Jose Rizal University to a 67-63 victory over San Sebastian in the NCAA men’s cage competition at The Arena in San Juan.
The Pasig native also missed a double-double by just a single rebound as he continued his progress from just a defensive stopper in his first two years with the team to one of the rising gunners in the league today.
“This will be the year of Jordan, as long as he stays aggressive attacking the basket and on defense,” Bombers coach Vergel Meneses said.
“Ginawa ko lang `yung part ko, kasi mahaba playing time ko at tiwala si coach sa akin,” Dela Paz replied. “As a veteran, I also tried to be a leader.”
Dela Paz’s efforts helped the Bombers notch their fourth victory in seven games, tying their victims at fourth place and spoiling Stags head coach Topex Robinson’s return to the bench.
After Dela Paz scored on a layup to give the Bombers a 60-55 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Stags threatened and grabbed the lead for one last time at 63-62 after a Raffy Gusi triple with less than two minutes in the game.
The Bombers, however, proved steadier in the endgame by converting their charity shots to snap the Stags’ three-game winning streak.
“We made stops. That’s the bottom line,” Meneses said. “We weren’t trading baskets with them. The composure was there.”
JRU (67) -- Dela Paz 21, Pontejos 12, Salaveria 8, Mabulac 8, Paniamogan 4, Balagtas 4, Abanto 4, Lasquety 2, Juanico 2, Diego 2, Grospe 0, Benavides 0.
SSC (63) – Perez 17, Gusi 11, Tano 10, Dela Cruz 8, Guinto 7, Ortuoste 4, De Vera 3, Rebollos 2, Balucanag 1, Vergara 0.
Quarterscores: 16-13; 30-34; 50-47; 67-63.