Jethro Mendoza has seen the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals suffer so many close setbacks at the hands of the Lyceum Pirates.
Just two years ago, Francis Munsayac and the Generals were on pace to end Lyceum’s strong start. However, a bevy of errors late resulted to a 93-97 loss by EAC at their very own home floor.
A year later, the Generals clawed back from 31 points down to give Lyceum a scare. But it was all that, a scare as the Pirates were still able to come away with a 106-97 win.
“Oo, na-experience ko lahat yun,” shared Jethro Mendoza, who is in his final year with EAC.
“Nag-grow ako dahil dun.”
Friday afternoon, EAC had a strong third quarter burst against Lyceum, leading by as much as 18 points. But just as the Pirates had always done against them, they stormed back to gain a 77-76 lead with 3:34 left.
It was Mendoza’s nightmare all coming true again.
“Nag huddle kami nun, nung humahabol na, nag huddle kami, kaming lima, sabi lang namin ‘atin to’ lalaban tayo hanggang matapos,’” recalled the 21-year-old Mendoza. “Kahit nakakahabol sila gawin lang namin yung tama mag relax lang kami hanggang sa huli.”
The pint-sized guard took matters into his own hands, firing back-to-back triples to lift the Generals back in the driver’s position. Lyceum though was able to knot things up once again a few seconds later.
“He’s not a pure shooter. Dead shot siguro. Yun ang category niya,” said first-year EAC head coach Olivery Bunyi.
Mendoza was not to be denied with 1.5 seconds left, knocking down a tough lay-in.
On the other end, EAC was able to hold off a beautifully designed inbound play by Lyceum to end their four-game losing streak at the hands of the Pirates.
It’s still early in the season but this one holds something special for Mendoza. And he can’t wait to do it once again on their home floor against San Beda.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga teammates ko, regalo na nila sa last year ko kasi di pa namin natatalo yung San Beda.
“Pero paghahandaan namin nila coach pati mga teammates ko dahil home court namin, kaya talagang paghahandaan namin nang maiigi yun,” he hopes.
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