Will Gozum grateful to Benilde for continued trust despite his early struggles

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Published October 31, 2023 5:15pm

Updated October 31, 2023 5:15pm

Will Gozum expressed gratitude to his De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde team for its unwavering faith in him as he continues to find his footing in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament.

Gozum, the NCAA Season 98 MVP, averaged 16.73 points on top of 9.41 rebounds, 1.68 assists, and 1.14 blocks last season en route to carrying his Blazers to a first NCAA Finals appearance in 20 years.

This season, though, he has seen a dip in his production, posting numbers of just 10.67 markers, 6.44 boards, 2.78 dimes, and 1.22 blocks prior to their most recent game against the Perpetual ALTAs.

But the graduating 6-foot-4 bruiser is glad that the coaching staff and his teammates continued to have confidence in him despite his struggles.

“Well ‘yung trust naman nila is nandiyan pa rin so happy ako. Happy ako dahil ‘di ako na-foul trouble today and nag-stay ako sa court. Big help ‘yun for us (Well, their trust has always been there so I’m happy. I’m happy that I didn’t get into foul trouble today and I was able to stay on the court. That was a big help for us),” Gozum said after helping Benilde overcome Perpetual last Sunday.

Gozum sustained a hand injury in the offseason which forced him to miss a good part of Benilde’s buildup for the season. In addition to that, he also needed to adjust to a new role, which is to create more for his teammates instead of focusing on just scoring.

But despite his slow start to the season, he led the way in their 77-73 escape alongside guards Prince Carlos and Migs Oczon as he tallied a double-double outing of 15 points and 10 rebounds with two steals.

Benilde head coach Charles Tiu was happy to see a return to form for his main big man, but believes Gozum can do more with a lot of season still left to play.

“In a way, he’s starting to play better and getting some confidence back. But I still think this should have easily been a 20 and 15 game. He could have had 15 rebounds easily,” Tiu said.

“But at least it’s a step forward. It’s a long season so hopefully he gets back to his shape. Again, let’s not forget that he was out for three months nung injury niya and then joined our team a bit late so nangangapa pa siya (But at least it’s a step forward. It’s a long season so hopefully he gets back to his shape. Again, let’s not forget that he was out for three months because of his injury and then joined our team a bit late so he’s still finding his form).”

“But it’s a step towards a positive direction.”

—JMB, GMA Integrated News

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