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Alcantara reminds Mapua seniors Pido, Salenga to graduate first before heading to pros


Mapua University ended its NCAA Season 98 campaign on a high note by taking over San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 75-62, last Wednesday.

For head coach Randy Alcantara it has been a roller-coaster journey for them, especially in the first round of the eliminations.

But the talented veteran tactician wanted his players to study first – especially the graduating ones – after ending their Season 98 stint. Especially so that his players have a backup plan in case things do not work out.

“Palagi [ko sinasabi] sa kanila naman lahat ’yun, [to] finish their studies first. Tapos iyong basketball, marami namang liga, diba? Ang daming liga: NBL, MPBL, PBA, abroad, marami iyan,” shared Alcantara, who is also the head coach of MPBL team San Juan.

“Yon lang ang lagi kong sinasabi sa lahat sa kanila – tapusin nila iyong pag-aaral para may fallback sila after their basketball career.”

For Alcantara’s graduating players, they follow to what their coach’s advice and other opportunities can wait for them.

With Jasper Salenga ending his NCAA career, it was an honor for him to study at a high-quality school since he needs to fulfill the promise to his coaches and parents – graduate first.NCAA-98-MU-vs-AU-Jasper-Salenga Alcantara reminds Mapua seniors Pido, Salenga to graduate first before heading to pros Basketball MIT NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“To be honest ako, pino-focus ko na ‘yung academics ko. Kasi nga, ayun lagi pinapaalala ni coach na iba pa din ‘pag nag-graduate ka sa Mapua Universisty talaga,” said Salenga, who normed 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.3 assists this season.

“Isang kalidad yan na University. Kaya ako sa sarili ko – ga-graduate ako. ‘Yun ‘yung pinanghahawakan ko na pangako ko sa mga magulang ko, hindi lang sa mga coaches.”

For Jeric Pido, it was the same for him: finish his studies first since he had the opportunity to study and play for Mapua.

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However, if a door opens, the 5-foot-10 native of Iloilo will not have second thoughts about running through it.NCAA-98-MU-vs-AU-Jeric-Pido Alcantara reminds Mapua seniors Pido, Salenga to graduate first before heading to pros Basketball MIT NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“Sa akin tama ‘yun [sabi ni coach Randy]. Unang-una pa lang pumasok ako sa basketball is ‘yung main goal ko talaga is maka-graduate eh. And also ‘yung binigyan ako ng Mapua ng opportunity na mag-aral [at] maging engineer,” said Pido, who averaged 6.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this season.

“Iga-grab ko talaga ‘yun kasi malaking bagay din yun… And ‘yun naman ‘yung ticket para sa magandang kinabukasan eh – ‘yung pag aaral talaga.

“Oo mag papa-draft talaga ako kasi opportunity ‘yun eh. Kukunin ko talaga ‘yun. Eh nagsimula lang naman ako sa tinatawag na baka sakali. Eh nabigyan nga ako diba sa unang baka sakali ko, baka may sakali pa ulit – kunin ko na ‘yun, papasukin ko talaga ‘yun.” he ended.

Mapua finished in seventh place with a 7-11 win-loss card.

Despite all the hardships for the Cardinals, Alcantara calls out the remaining Cardinals to step up and reach the Final Four again next season.

“‘Yung mga rookies, ‘yung mga sophomores namin kailangan ma-improve namin, masalang namin sa mga ibang liga para tumaas ‘yung kumpiyansa,” admitted Alcantara.

“And experience nila and ‘yung mga nasa Team B namin hopefully, talagang makatulong sa campaign namin next year. So, tingin ko naman, maganda naman iyong ilalaban naman for next season.”

Written By

College student in San Beda University, part of the San Beda Red Sea Lions Swim Team, and likes watching anime


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