NCAA: John Barba’s explosion a testament to Lyceum’s ‘unpredictability’

John Barba sizing up against the San Sebastian Golden Stags.

John Barba sizing up against the San Sebastian Golden Stags-NCAA Photo

MANILA, Philippines—In Lyceum’s stellar opening run in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament, coach Gilbert Malabanan always emphasized that his team boasts of “unpredictability.”

On Tuesday against San Sebastian, John Barba became a testament to the Pirates’ newfound system.

“Like I always say, my team is unpredictable. Whoever will explode, will explode. We’re hard to scout because both my first and second group are good. You didn’t even know Barba would explode like that,” said Malabanan at San Juan Arena after their 83-72 win against the Golden Stags.

Barba scored a game-high 20 points built on a blistering 72.7 percent field goal shooting clip, sinking eight of his 11 tries from the field. He also sank three triples from rainbow country in the process.

The sharpshooting guard’s outing came as a surprise to the Golden Stags, considering that the Pirates’ two scoring options are usually PBA Draft selectee Enoch Valdez and Collegiate Press Corps’ Player of the Week Shawn Umali.

Barba, however, clarified that the win isn’t something to be celebrated since his squad is still very far from their expected goal.

“We can’t enjoy this. Well, we can enjoy today but tomorrow we go back to work. This [season] is still very long, we still haven’t caught our goal, we still need to work on it,” said Barba in Filipino.

“Every game, when I’m used or not, I just stay ready and I’ll always give my best to help out the team.”

Thanks to Barba’s heroics, Lyceum stayed unblemished atop the standings with four wins in as many games.

The Pirates look to extend their winning streak on Friday when they face the winless Arellano Chiefs.

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