Nate Matute says his son, who will be turning two years old soon, has been providing him with extra inspiration.
The Filipino-American wingman has been playing like it too, as he led the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers to a 90-79 victory over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in NCAA Season 88 action Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Matute set a career-high for the second straight match, following up his 29-point output last week against Arellano with a 30-point game against the Generals.
He had 20 points across his name after the first two quarters after shooting 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“He was the one who carried the team. I hope he could continue this all season,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses about his ace player.
Matute hit three three-pointers to bridge the first and second quarters to hep JRU open a 13-point spread, 28-15.
But EAC clawed back in the third quarter behind Jan Jamon and John Tayongtong, cutting the lead to just three points.
The Generals were still within four points, 64-60, in the fourth quarter before the Heavy Bombers broke away late.
With just 15 seconds left in the game, Matute hit a buzzer-beater to set a new career-high.
“I didn’t know I already scored that much today. We didn’t take EAC lightly because for us, all of the teams are strong this season. Just like the team, I play every game as if it’s a championship game,” said Matute.
“I already know my role in the team so I know what to do.”
JRU’s record remained perfect with their third straight win to open the season.
“We’re trying to prove something,” said Matute.
It is the best start for the Heavy Bombers since they rattled off six straight wins to begin the season under coach Ariel Vanguardia.
Jose Rizal (90) — Matute 30, Mabulac 14, Almario 11, Lopez 11, Camasura 9, Villarias s, Dela Paz 4, Carampil 4, Mendoza 2, Monserat 1, Salaveria 0, Porter 0, Maconocido 0.
EAC (79) — Jamon 20, Tayong 15, Happi 15, Munsayac 10, Yaya 8, Chiong 6, Morada 3, Sanchez 2, Monteclaro 0, Paguia 0.
Quarters: 22-13, 44-35, 60-57, 90-79.