After title experience, Lao promises to be better

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Jacob Lao
Jacob Lao

ONE OF THE promising point guards out of Season 93 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) junior champion La Salle-Greenhills (LSGH) is Jacob Lao.

A 17-year-old graduating player, who will leave high school with a memorable year after being part of the Baby Blazers’ first NCAA junior Cinderella title run recently, Lao is preparing for his next step when he goes to college to study a business-related course and pursue his basketball career.

“I learned how to become a dedicated person in improving my craft. I played with a lot of heart in high school and I’m happy to be part of this championship. I think playing in college is challenging but I’m ready to play anywhere, wherever the opportunity comes,” said the combo guard Lao, who idolizes Jeff Chan in the Philippine Basketball Association and Kobe Bryant in the National Basketball Association.

Averaging 4.5 points in 18 games, Lao came up with eight points in support to Joshua David’s 27 points and Joel Cagulangan’s 19 points as they led De La Salle Greenhills to a slim 75-74 win over Mapua last Friday in a sudden-death Game 3 finals and capture the juniors crown.

“In my junior years, I learned the importance of team work and perseverance,” added Lao. “I’m hoping I can use this high school experience when I play in college. Right now, I’m working very hard to improve my speed, ball handling, passing, shooting and defensive ability,” he added.

Anton “Brody” Brodette, the assistant coach of La Salle-Greenhills, believes the 5’8 Lao has what it takes to become an effective leader on the floor because of his leadership, skills and high basketball IQ despite being small.

“The kid is a fighter. He (Lao) doesn’t like to give up and I think he’s going to be a big asset to any team in college,” said Brodette, who was Lao’s first coach in La Salle high school. “He is also an excellent defender and very coachable. He can play the 1-2 spot for sure.”

After losing five of their last six games in the elimination round to post an 11-7 win-loss record, the Baby Blazers knocked off San Sebastian, 108-82, in a sudden-death for the last spot in the Final Four. They also overcame the twice-to-beat advantage of San Beda by beating them twice in the series to reach the finals.

They beat the Red Cubs in first game (83-72) and then in triple overtime (110-108) in the do-or-die match before arranging the best-of-three championship series with Mapua, which they beat 2-1 in the best-of-three NCAA Junior championship series.