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Lyceum’s Ayaay NCAA player of week

MJ Ayaay

MANILA, Philippines — MJ Ayaay has pretty much taken a backseat to CJ Perez the whole season but when he was given the opportunity to take responsibility, the veteran forward definitely made it count.

His heroics in Lyceum’s 94-92 victory over Arellano University was enough for him to be named the Chooks to Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week.

With the Pirates’ unbeaten slate in peril after trailing the Chiefs by 13 late in the game,  Ayaay teamed up with Perez and JC Marcelino to lead a stunning comeback and set up a thrilling finish.

And with Perez fouling up with two minutes left in the game and the match hanging in the balance, the versatile skipper stepped up to the plate.

Ayaay scored five straight points, including the go-ahead basket with 7.3 seconds left,  and the Pirates remained unbeaten after 12 games.

For Ayaay, it’s all about belief.

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Nakikinig kami sa isa’t isa. Gusto lang talaga namin manalo. Tambak kami, we just stayed positive pa rin,” said Ayaay after the match.

“Kahit natatambakan kami lagi ko lang sila mino-motivate. Di kami nawawalan ng pag-asa naniniwala kami na sa atin to, kaya natin to,” he added.

The win was obviously a welcome development for coach Topex Robinson as it validated his previous statements that there’s more to this squad than the highly touted Perez.

“As much as we love having CJ around, this team is more than just a CJ Perez squad,” said Robinson.

“Of course CJ is a very big part of our team, but even he knows that he’s just a part of the team and that we can without him,” he added.

With Ayaay snagging the weekly individual plum, it marks the second straight week that a Pirate won the award after Perez took it last week.

Fellow Pirate JC Marcelino, San Beda’s JV Mocon, College of St. Benilde’s Edward Dixon and JRU’s Tey Teodoro were the close runners-up for the award.

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