By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Ilonggo guard John Bryan Sajonia is a man on a mission after top-scoring the Gilas Pilipinas Under-23 national team for the second-straight time in the ongoing Asian Games 3×3.hoops tournament.
Fresh off a scintillating victory over Jordan in their first game, the Sajonia-led Gilas squad maintained their perfect record and took down Chinese-Taipei, 17-12, last September 26, 2023, held in Hangzhou, China.
The former superstar of the Santa Clarita International School of Iloilo dropped six points and became the national team’s money man for two consecutive times.
With Chinese-Taipei not backing down while keeping themselves within striking distance, it was Sajonia who sank the clutch basket to give Gilas a 12-8 lead with only 1:35 remaining in the game.
Sajonia grabbed the offensive rebound off his own miss from the free throw line and buried the clutch put-back basket.
Chinese-Taipei continued clawing their way back, cutting their deficit to just two points, 14-12, but Bismarck Lina put them away after a free drive to the basket to extend their cushion to three points, 15-12, with only 30 seconds remaining.
Just like his performance against Jordan, Sajonia was consistently scoring the leather every time he found an opening to attack Chinese-Taipei’s interior.
As Gilas struggled to score in the first two minutes of the game, Sajonia cashed in a three-pointer from the right elbow that broke the 1-all deadlock.
Backstopping the Ilonggo gunner against Chinese-Taipei were JR Pasaol and Justine Sanchez who scored four points each for the PHL national team.