LJay Gonzales and the FEU-laden Quezon Huskers open a new chapter in the MPBL

Nov 30, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – Promising basketball standout L-Jay Gonzales quickly found a new home in the professional ranks not long after his collegiate career at Far Eastern University ended somewhat unexpectedly earlier this year. As the departing “King Tamaraw” of his former squad, it may not have been quite the storybook ending most hoped for his personal journey on the hardcourt, however, the young Gonzales now has an exciting new team to call his own moving forward – the Quezon Huskers franchise competing in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) professional circuit.

Entering just their second-ever campaign, the upstart second-year squad made major offseason waves by securing prized superstar talent in college phenom Gonzales through the player draft. His high-profile signing prompted Huskers team management to position themselves strongly as fielding ‘one of the best and most explosive guard-laden rosters across the MPBL landscape’ when they officially unveiled Gonzales as their newest marquee addition.

In the Huskers leadership’s own words announcing the key acquisition – “As we diligently prepare for the fast approaching next MPBL season tipping off soon, we are absolutely thrilled to warmly welcome former FEU King Tamaraw standout L-Jay Gonzales into the Quezon Huskers family fold as our latest member.” Elaborating further, they highlighted – “As most local basketball fans are well aware from following the UAAP headlines recently, beyond just Gonzales, our rising squad is already filled with plenty of familiar former FEU program talent including coach Jerson Cabiltes plus a quartet of seasoned former Far Eastern University players from the last several years in Ken Holmqvist, Alfrancis Tamsi, Rodel Gravera, and Ximone Sandagon.”

Capping off Gonzales’ amateur career, the talented young combo guard enjoyed an impressive lone season piloting the FEU Tamaraws just months ago throughout the UAAP Season 86 collegiate conference. Despite the Tamaraws finishing with just 3 wins compared to 11 losses on the year, the 21-year-old Gonzales managed to leave his mark statistically leading FEU across multiple categories.

Specifically, the diminutive 5-foot-10 native of Isabela topped his Far Eastern University squad averages by scoring a team-high 14.79 points per game (4th highest overall that UAAP season), while also pacing the Tamaraws crashing the boards at 7.79 rebounds a night (8th overall) plus distributing effectively averaging 3.14 assists per contest (7th overall) alongside playing harassing perimeter defense generating 2 steals per outing (tied 2nd overall).

Critically, Gonzales also ranked among the entire league’s minutes leaders from all schools – finishing 5th overall racking up a whopping 409 minutes and 49 seconds of court time during the tournament for 29 minutes 16 seconds per game. He placed top 3 overall that campaign in total field goals made converting 77 shots for 5.5 makes per contest. His trips to the free throw line also proved frequent, earning 8th spot with 34 successful free throws out of 47 attempts for an excellent 72.34% conversion clip (9th overall).

Given such gaudy two-way statistical production emerging among the most productive players league-wide despite FEU’s bottom-tier showing, MPBL club Quezon quickly prioritized securing L-Jay Gonzales’ rights once he entered the professional player draft. The Huskers expect their high-profile acquisition will elevate the sophomore franchise into upper echelon contention right away heading into the fast-approaching new MPBL season.

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