Off a long rebound, Far Eastern U center Prince Orizu put his head down, ran the floor like a gazelle then soared for an emphatic two-handed dunk that brought the sizeable Tamaraws crowd up on their feet.
Sure, the 6-foot-9 Orizu provided one of the top highlights in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney so far—and he did it by getting away with a travelling violation.
“If (Cleveland Cavalier superstar) LeBron James can get away with a travel(ling violation), why can’t I?” said the Cameroonian center, tongue-in-cheek, as he recalled the play in the course of defending champion FEU’s 79-72 victory over host University of Santo Tomas on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Based on TV replays, Orizu stopped his dribble at the top of the free throw area and made—at least five steps—before rising for the vicious jam that stretched the Tamaraws’ lead to 71-58 with 4:39 left to play.
Even FEU coach Nash Racela admitted Orizu took more than two steps.
“Travelling,” he said, his hands in a rolling motion, as he made his exit out of the press room after the post-match interview.
Orizu admitted he was “a little bit nervous” during the play. “That’s my first fastbreak this season so I was a little bit nervous. It’s okay that I was able to put it in,” he said.
However, Orizu did more than just that dunk by providing the needed inside presence with game-highs of 13 rebounds and three blocks on top of nine points and a steal as the Tamaraws notched their third straight win and fourth overall in six matches, good for a share of second spot.
“I’m willing to sacrifice a lot to help them in any way I can. I’m happy to be the big presence for them in the paint,” he said.
Collectively, the Tamaraws’ defense also pleased Orizu no end.
“Im really happy with the way we played defense that led to better offense. We really have to played defense to get somewhere here. The offense is one play at a time,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad