ALCANTARA—After missing most of the first round because of a league-imposed suspension, ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu wingman Reed Juntilla is making up for lost time with his red-hot play in the last three games culminating in his 19-point performance in their 67-52 win over the KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue that kept his team’s season alive.
In the last three do-or-die games of ARQ, the 36-year old has been averaging 22.67 points and 7.67 rebounds as the Heroes staved off elimination against Tubigon Bohol, Dumaguete, and KCS-Mandaue.
Juntilla said it’s pretty easy to stay motivated at this point of the tournament. Simply put, it’s win or go home and he says he’s not ready to go home just yet.
"Wala ng bukas kasi. Kailangan ko embrace yung challenge na binigay sa akin," said the native of Carmen, Cebu.
Juntilla was one of the six players that were given a first round suspension by the league stemming from Lapu-Lapu's controversial game against Siquijor last April 14.
When they returned, all was not what it seemed as the team dealt with the aftermath of the incident and could not get any traction going, eventually finishing 2-3 (win-loss) in the second round.
"Struggle talaga kami kasi may problema kami na pinagdaanan di ba? Hindi ko inexpect yun, lalo na yung talo naman sa Tabogon," shared the 6-foot-2 combo guard of their stunning 73-76 loss to the Voyagers last April 22.
"Ang maganda dun, hindi kami nawalan ng pag-asa. Kailangan talaga namin mag-focus at mag-step up."
Having experienced everything there is in basketball, Juntilla took it upon himself to not just lift not just the spirits of his teammates but also his team on the court.
"Ako magtetake charge dito sa team at shineshare ko yung experience ko sa laro. Kailangan din talaga i-push yung teammates ko at ilabas yung puso sa laro," he said.
Tuesday evening, Juntilla had 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block to carry his side to a 67-52 win over KCS-Mandaue, a team that has had their number all tournament long.
Despite the mileage he already has in his legs, Juntilla stressed that he still has something left for their win-or-go-home game against the same team on Wednesday.
"Kaya pa! Laban pa! Kondisyon pa kaming lahat." (JNP)