MANILA, Philippines—San Beda guard Jacob Cortez drew praise from his coach Yuri Escueta after providing the Red Lions a much-needed boost on Saturday.
With key cog Tony Ynot sidelined with a back injury, Cortez stepped up and delivered a breakout performance to help San Beda beat Jose Rizal University, 70-61.
“I’m mostly amazed by how he stayed patient and ready. Usually, a player that’s not used gets moody, sometimes you can’t blame those players because they are young and some are immature but with Jacob, I’m speechless,” said Escueta.
The 20-year-old Cortez collected 15 points, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes and 19 seconds of play.
Cortez, who is in his sophomore year, only averaged 5.13 points, 2.27 rebounds and 1.53 assists in 13 minutes per game heading into Saturday.
“Even in juniors and last season, I stayed ready. Now, in a new system, coach Yuri has been helping me and telling me to stay ready. I have confidence in him and he gives me confidence and today it showed,” said Cortez, the son of former PBA star Mike Cortez.
Cortez also credited the words of wisdom he received from his dad, a two-time UAAP champion with La Salle and three-time PBA champion.
“He called me after one of our games and said not to show bad body language, just stay positive and ready. He knows it’s not good for the team because the world does not revolve around me so I just have to stay ready,” the former UST recruit said.
The win pushed San Beda to third in the standings with a 12-5 record. The Red Lions wrap up their elimination round campaign against second-running College of St. Benilde (12-4) on Tuesday.
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