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San Beda rookie named NCAA Player of the Week

MANILA, Philippines – San Beda ended its first round run in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament as the second seed, thanks in large part to Jomel Puno’s impact.

Only in his rookie year, the high-leaping Puno powered the Red Lions to a perfect 3-0 record in the past seven days highlighted by his impressive three straight double-double outings.  

With this, Puno was named this week’s Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week behind a solid average of 13.0 points and 13.3 rebounds.

Puno zoomed past Mapua’s Clint Escamis, Jose Rizal University’s Marwin Dionisio, EAC’s Ralph Robin, and College of Saint Benilde’s Robi Nayve for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.

The Filipino-Canadian is one of the main reasons why San Beda is riding on a four-game winning streak with a 7-2 record for the season behind league-leading Mapua University (8-1).

Puno, who was recommended to San Beda head coach Yuri Escueta by TNT guard Jayson Castro, flaunted his best game so far against Perpetual last Tuesday, putting together 12 points and tournament-best 17 rebounds en route to their comeback win.

He then followed it up with 16 points and 11 rebounds against San Sebastian before capping off the week with 11 markers and 12 boards against EAC.

Escueta lauded Puno’s efforts for San Beda, but said there’s more to come for him.

“Jom playing as a 3 is always an advantage for us. His activity in crashing the boards, his length and athleticism is an advantage for us,” the second-year coach said.

“That’s the reason why we took him and he knows it. We think it’s a blessing for the basketball community for him to go to San Beda instead of other schools. I’m sure he can do more.”

Puno, on the other hand, said his performances were all due to his readiness to contribute for the Red Lions.

“I just know my role coming into a game. I do whatever it takes to win. I really focused on positioning myself and time my rebounds just to help my team out.”