MANILA, Philippines – With the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament entering the deep waters, Jaycee Marcelino needed to gut it out for Lyceum.
Days before their battle for the second-seed with Letran, the Pirates' senior guard was stricken with flu and was unable to join practices.
But that was not an excuse for Marcelino to miss a game.
"It's about living in the moment, no excuses. Like Jaycee, he only returned yesterday after sitting out 5 days of practice," Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson said. "He played his heart out today and that's a testament to the dedication of this kid to this team."
Despite not getting any practice behind him and almost losing his legs early, the 23-year-old made sure to lead the Pirates, finishing with 25 points spiked by 5 triples to go along with 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist.
More importantly, Lyceum gained a one-and-a-half-game cushion over fellow title contender Letran in the standings with a 97-90 victory.
"Pinagalitan ako ni coach," the native of Olangapo said. "Nakikita ko kasi sa mga kakampi ko sa bench na hindi sila sumusuko. Paano pa kaya ako na nasa court kaya nagdoble effort ako noong second half para sa kanila."
(Coach scolded me. I saw my teammates on the bench that they didn't want to give up so for a guy like me who was on the court, I needed to double my effort in the second half for them.)
With his inspirational performance, Marcelino was hailed as the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week.
Marcelino bested Mapua's Laurenz Victoria, San Beda's James Canlas, EAC's Kriss Gurtiza, and Arellano's Justin Arana for this citation given by print and online scribes covering the country's oldest collegiate league. – Rappler.com