Long-time Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers head coach Vergel Meneses will run two campaigns in the next few months.
Besides running for mayor in Bulacan, Bulacan, Meneses – who is coming off his worst season with the Heavy Bombers in nine years – wants skipper Jed Mendoza to play out his fifth and final year.
“Sabi ko sa kanya last time, ‘Kung gra-graduate ka, umalis ka sa JRU na hindi maganda yung image mo’. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, ‘You have one more year to redeem yourself.'”
The NCAA has a strict rule regarding student-athletes planning to play out a fifth year. The player must still be attending his undergraduate studies and not taking a masters course to avail of his final year of eligibility. But Mendoza is just a few units away from graduating.
“Hindi ko pa kasi alam eh, hindi pa napag-uusapan yung academics ko kasi puwede na ako mag-file for graduating so hindi pa napag-uusapan. Hindi pa sarado yung pinto pero depende pa sa pag-uusapan,” admitted Mendoza, who closed out his fourth year with JRU with career-high averages of 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
“Wala pa ko sinasabing final decision.”
Meneses has made a promise to Mendoza that next year’s squad will be better than this year. If the 6-foot combo guard had his way, he would play out his final year.
“Honestly, sa akin, sa opinion ko talaga, gusto ko pa maglaro, stay pa, gusto ko pa maging leader sa team.
“Gusto ko pa maglaro, makasama itong JRU, pero hindi pa kasi napag-uusapan eh so titignan pa natin,” he shared.
There are many club teams that have expressed their interest in tapping the services of Mendoza. The 22-year-old has shown flashes that he could make the leap. But he still knows that he still has a lot to work on which he could develop by taking his fifth year.
“Napakarami [ko pang kulang]. Hindi kayang isa-isahin pero siguro pinaka-una yung discipline. Lack of discipline – kami ‘yung discipline namin sa sarili namin, especially ako, aminin ko na sa sarili kulang ako sa disiplina,” he pointed out.
“Siguro gaya ni coach ako isa to blame kung bakit nangyari ‘to sa team namin. I take that as a challenge talaga.”