Last weekend, Jed Mendoza opened a new chapter in his career.
Instead of playing out his final year with the Jose Rizal University, he chose a one-and-done season with the University of the East Red Warriors.
But it’s something that the 22-year-old had to do.
“Sayang kasi. Yung collegiate career hindi na yan mababalikan.
“Kaya kinuha ko yung opportunity na ito,” said Mendoza, who averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball Tournament.
Last April, Mendoza graduated from JRU with a degree in BSBA Business Management. With no undergraduate units left, it meant that he had exhausted his eligibility in the Grand Old League, since the league does not allow students in a masters program to be an athlete.
But the UAAP allows it, allowing student-athletes with a degree from a non-member school to immediately suit up for the league.
So it was an opportunity he can’t refuse.
“Binigyan ako ni Lord ng second chance sa college. Tapos UAAP pa,” he expressed.
“Imagine, nakapag NCAA tapos UAAP pa po. Sobrang gandang experience yun as a player.”
Expectations will be high for UE, as the Red Warriors will have a stacked roster for the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Mendoza is not letting it get into his head, though. The only thing he vows to do is to carry what JRU – a school he poured his blood, sweat, and tears to for the last four years – and his mentor Vergel Meneses taught to him in UE.
“Sobrang thankful ako sa JRU community, sa coaches ko, especially kay coach Vergel at sa mga teamates ko,” he said. “Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi ko ito maa-achieve.
“I will always be a Bomber!
“Hindi ko makakalimutan ang JRU and I will always support them kahit wala na ako sa team,” he vowed.