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The Heavy Bombers now hold their own fate

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“May pag-asa pa. Medyo lumilinaw pero we have to win more games. I know it will be very hard for us, but ang JRU lagi naman nasa situation na ganyan so one game at a time.”

We have documented the roller coaster ride the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers are in for the entire second round of the 91st Season of the NCAA Seniors Basketball tournament.

Just a little over a couple of weeks ago, the cagers from Shaw Boulevard were in a predicament that no coach wants their team to be in – having their fate on the hands of other teams. During that span, the mindset of Jose Rizal U Head Coach Vergel Meneses was not to pressure his players as his players might succumb to it.

Meneses was even more upbeat when the Heavy Bombers scored a huge upset win over the Perpetual Altas last September 25. In the game, the Heavy Bombers held their opponents scoreless in the final minutes of the game en route to a 62-60 win.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers have strung together five straight wins for a 11-6 slate as they were able to upend the Lyceum Pirates. With the win, the ball is now on the court of the Heavy Bombers with just one game to go in the regular season. “Well, depends on Friday pero nasa kamay na namin. Di na namin kelangan isipin na matalo si ganito, matalo si ganyan. Nasa amin na yung chances,” said an enthusiastic Meneses.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times The Heavy Bombers now hold their own fate    Defense has been the bread and butter of Jose Rizal U during the five-game stretch as it is the principle preached by the Aerial Voyager. “Lagi ko ineemphasize sa kanila yun.” He then cited their game against the Aric Del Rosario-mentored squad as an example. “Like nung sa Perpetual, hindi sila naka-score ng seven minutes, dun kami nakahabol. When we were up 62-60 with two minutes to go in the game, parehas kami hindi naka-score. We make it tough on the defensive end. Sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘JRU is known for that.'”

Prior to this stretch, Meneses disclosed that he told his players that the doors have shut for the team to reach the Final Four. “Sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘no more chance.'” The reason though was that he does not want to pressure his players. “Ayoko pressurin sila pero alam ko may chance pa and alam ko abilities ng players ko. Sinabi ko sa kanila ‘let’s win and we’ll see what will happen.’ Yun yung nasa kamay namin.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times The Heavy Bombers now hold their own fate    But now that their fate is back on their hands, he still does not want to pressure either himself or his players. “Ngayon, nabalik na sa kamay namin. Siyempre ayoko na mapressure sila. Kasi the more na nakikita nila na naprepressure ako, the more din na naprepressure sila. Like sa practice, sige laro kayo. One and a half [hours] of practice okay na. Ayoko yung masyadong maraming ginagawa na baka hindi makayanan ng isip nila. Gumagana naman,” he disclosed.

This Friday, the Heavy Bombers will face this season’s spoilers, the San Sebastian Stags, a team that has toppled contenders like San Beda, Letran, and Perpetual in the second round. Meneses warned his players to not overthink nor take the Golden Stags lightly. “Yan yung sinasabi ko sa kanila. Nothing to lose sila, huwag niyong pressure sarili ninyo I told my players. Just stick to the gameplan. Hindi naman nila bibigay yung panalo. Kahit hindi na sila makakapasok, they want to end their season on a winning note.”

“More aggressiveness. Hindi ko pa nakikita yung nagprepress sila all the way. Hindi ko pa nakikita. Pero we are peaking at the right time,” Meneses closed.

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