JAMIL Ortuoste couldn’t recall the last time he had an explosive night and led his team to victory.
“College pa siguro,” Ortuoste told FOX Sports Philippines after he knocked in 27 points, built around eight three-point shots, that propelled the Muntinlupa Cagers to an 85-76 triumph over the Mindoro Tamaraws in the MPBL Lakan Season.
Ortuoste was on fire all game long and his long-range bombs allowed the Cagers to pull away from a tight match.
For the former San Sebastian player, nights like this one, are hard to come by and he seized that opportunity once he felt it.
“I think this is my best game in the MPBL. Nangyari na rin siguro nung college, pero bumabalik na paunti-unti,” added Ortuoste. “Thankful ako sa coaches and mga teammates ko sa trust na ibinibigay nila sa akin kaya yung confidence namin mas nabo-boost.”
According to Ortuoste, having a coach like Bonnie Garcia, who handles the UST Tiger Cubs in the UAAP, kept the entire Cagers in tip-top condition.
“Nakatulong siya ng malaki, lalo na sa conditioning. Kasi alam naman natin kapag high school coach, pukpukan sa ensayo. Puro bata yung hawak niya. Nadala niya rin sa amin. Nag-extra effort rin kami sa ensayo at ginagawa namin yung mga pinagagawa niya,” added Ortuoste.
Garcia noticed the way Ortuoste had been performing in practice.
“Slowly nakikilala nila ako. Unti-unti ko na silang nakikilala,” added Garcia. “Even sa practice, nakikita ko naman na gustung-gusto niya talaga. Talagang deadly rin siya. Kapag binigyan mo siya ng space sa tres, titira talaga yan.”
According to Garcia, they need to work double-time during practice sessions, working on their conditioning and preparing them for the final haul.
“Mahirap kaming mag-ensayo,” added Garcia. “Nung umpisa namomroblema sila kasi nga three days before the game, talagang nagha-hard practice kami. Kaya bumabalik na yung condition ng mga players.”