NCAA: Warren Bonifacio aims to impress in final season with Mapua
MANILA, Philippines—Mapua captain Warren Bonifacio won’t be lacking motivation heading into the NCAA Season 99.
Bonifacio is riding high after he was selected by the Magnolia Hotshots in the fifth round of the 2023 PBA Draft.
But being drafted doesn’t guarantee anything and getting signed to make an actual PBA roster is a different story.
That’s why Bonifacio treats the upcoming NCAA season as his audition for the PBA and a way for him to bolster his stock.
“It boosts my morale because I got drafted but it doesn’t end there. I still need to sign [a contract] so I’ll give my all here in the NCAA so I can be seen by PBA coaches more, especially Magnolia, so they can see what I can do,” said Bonifacio at Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.
“They were happy for me. When I got to our dorm after the Draft, they congratulated me and it warmed my heart.”
After a stellar Season 97 which saw Mapua reach the Finals against Letran, the Cardinals wilted under pressure and missed out on a Final Four spot the following season.
Still, Bonifacio showed why he’s one of the collegiate league’s top big men by averaging 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
A slow start cost the Cardinals a trip to the NCAA semifinals last season so the squad is eager to start strong in hopes of making a return to the Final Four.
“Our chemistry now is more whole. We got to know each other more in the team. We all adapted right away to the system that our coaches wanted,” explained Bonifacio in Filipino.
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The Cardinals begin their Season 99 campaign against the San Sebastian Stags on Tuesday at San Juan Arena.