|Erwin Sta. Maria was named a co-Player of the Week in the M-League along with Rickson Gerero.|
By Dugout Philippines
MANILA--Valenzuela’s Erwin Sta. Maria and Pateros’ Rickson Gerero were named World Balance Player of the Week for the North and South Divisions, respectively, in the opening week of the inaugural 2018 Metro League Open basketball tournament.
Sta. Maria averaged 24.5 points on a sizzling 56% shooting from the field, inclusive of a 40% clip from 3-point range (2 of 5), and was a perfect 9 of 9 from the 15-foot line while adding norms of 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals in the Workhorses’ twin wins over Taguig and Caloocan this past week that gained them a share of the North Division lead with Quezon City.
“I like his work ethic. He is there not just to play but to compete. He is doing what is expected of him as a veteran--leadership, composure. Seryoso at focused si Erwin. Yan ang maganda sa kanya,” said Valenzuela head coach and PBA legend Gerry Esplana of his top player.
Sta. Maria, who was deadliest in their opening day 95-85 win over Caloocan last Sept. 30 with his 33 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two assists, bested QC’s Cyrus Tabi and Sandy Señal and Caloocan’s Aevin Coquia and Johnnel Bauzon for the North Division Player of the Week recognition in the PBA & MMDA-backed tourney which has “Mobile App ng Bayan” Barangay 143 as presentor, Spalding as the official ball and Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter.
Gerero, on the other hand, averaged 18.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.0 block in Pateros’ first 3 games where they won two to grab the early lead in the South Division of this tourney which also has Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance, Frabelle Foods, Summit Mineral Water, Alco Plus, Gerry’s Grill, Excellent Noodles, glitter.ph, SM Supermalls and Nature’s Spring as major sponsors.
“All around player siya. Inside and outside, maasahan. Gusto ko din attitude niya, very coachable at mataas basketball IQ,” said Pateros head coach Pablo Lucas.
Gerero, who was also Pateros’ stalwart in last year’s 24-and-tourney, was deadliest in their most recent 93-77 rout of Las Piñas last Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex where he erupted for 30 points which he added with 18 rebounds, four assists and two shotblocks, just two days after being held to just five points on a 2-for-9 field-goal shooting and just three boards in an 86-83 loss to Manila.
“Alam ko at nakita ko na babawi at babawi siya after ng off night niya against Manila. He has the mentality and capability to bounce back which he did in our last game,” Lucas added.
Gerero, who defeated San Juan’s Homer Jagunap, Parañaque’s Rafy Gusi and Taguig’s Richard Albo for the honor, also had 20 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, four assists and a shotblock in their tournament opening day 78-70 win over Parañaque last Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, action resumes Tuesday at the Parañaque Sports Hall with a tripleheader where Taguig looks to bounce back and grab a share of the South Division lead by taking on Manila, Solid San Juan eyeing a second straight win at the expense of still-winless Marikina and host Parañaque looking recover to lost ground against dangerous Caloocan.
The Generals battle the All-Stars at 4 p.m., Solid San Juan taking on the Shoelanders at 5:30 p.m. and the Green Berets clashing with the Supremos All-Star in the 7 p.m. nightcap.
Only the top four teams from each division will advance to the division semifinals after the single round-robin eliminations where teams play each other once including those in the other division.
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