WARREN Bonifacio, one of the defending champion Mapua Red Robins’ slotmen, is fast becoming one of the top rebounders of the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association Junior Basketball Tournament,
With the first round almost over, Bonifacio had an eight-game average of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
He is behind another talented big man, Aaron Fermin of the Arellano Braves. Fermin norms 17.9 rebounds.
Last Friday, Bonifacio, who is from San Simon, Pampanga, struggled after being in foul trouble at the end of the second quarter.
But he still managed to lead the Mapua Red Robins with his defensive plays that allowed them to put away the Lyceum Junior Pirates, 102-98, in overtime.
Saddled with four fouls, the 6’5” Bonifacio returned in the fourth quarter, just in time to lead the Mapua Red Robins to their seventh win in eight games.
“Sa isip, dumepensa na lang nang tama. Buti na lang, umabot pa ako hanggang overtime,” said Bonifacio.
With their latest victory, the Red Robins now have chance to stay at no. 1.
To do so, they have to hurdle the Lyceum Junior Pirates in their last first-round assignment on Tuesday.
Bonifacio made only 12 points and nine rebounds, including big rebound in the last five seconds.
He came into the picture right after Junior Pirates cager Neil Ruiz sunk two of three charities to move his time closer, 98-100.
When Ruiz missed his third free throw attempt, Bonifacio jumped in and took possession of the ball.
His two charities in final 3.5 seconds off Marj de Leon’s foul then sealed the win for the Red Robins.
“ Iyung mga bata, hindi bumigay. Ready sila sa mga situation,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara.