FORMER Batang Gilas cager Will Gozum began the year disappointed that he had to transfer to a different school. But the heartbreak turned into joy after Mapua reached the finals of the NCAA Season 92 juniors basketball tournament.
The 17-year-old Gozum was one of the driving force in the Red Robins’ run to the finals, especially following the loss of resident big man Sherwin Concepcion who was sidelined for the season due to a shoulder injury.
But Gozum had to endure some disappointments as well as he was forced to transfer to Mapua from University of the Philippines Integrated School.
“Nung nawala po ako sa UP, parang sobrang sakit para sa akin nung una,” said Gozum, without going into details. “Hindi ko po matanggap ‘yun. Tapos talagang nag-work hard po ako nung dumating po ako dito.”
Gozum, however, has become a big lift for the Red Robins in his first year with the squad. He finished the elimination round with averages of 7.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. But more importantly, he gave stability to the Mapua frontcourt following the injury to Concepcion.
“Malaking bagay na nawala si Sherwin. Sabi ni coach, malaking bagay ang mawawala kaya dapat po ako mag-step up,” said Gozum.
He did just that during the semifinal match against La Salle Greenhills last Friday as he finished with 16 points in the 88-81 victory to help the Red Robins reach the championship round.
“Sobrang sarap sa feeling,” said Gozum, after the game.
With the Red Robins now waiting for the result of the rubber match in the semifinals between San Beda and Arellano, Gozum said the wait will be beneficial for the Red Robins.
“Mas matagal ang preparation, mas maganda po sa amin,” said Gozum.