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JRU head coach Meneses: ‘Masarap nga talaga yung pinaghihirapan’

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After back-to-back heartbreaking defeats against the San Beda Red Lions and the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, the Rizalian faithful’s hope for another Final Four run dimmed.

However, PBA legend and current JRU head coach Vergel Meneses did not lose hope to capture this goal nor give up on his team. During JRU’s morale-boosting win against the CSB Blazers, Meneses told the members of the press that “may pag-asa pa. Medyo lumilinaw pero we have to win more games. I know it will be very hard for us but lagi naman, ang JRU lagi naman nasa situation na ganiyan so one game at a time.” Moreover, he did not pressure his players to win. “Ang sinasabi ko sa kanila, kung gusto nila maglaro, okay. Kung hindi, okay lang din. Kumbaga, hindi ko kailangang i-pressure sila. The more I put pressure on them, for sure mas hindi kakayanin ng bata.”

After that game, the Shaw Boulevard-based squad have strung together four straight wins, including a huge grindout victory against the Perpetual Altas. The “Aerial Voyager” was more than enthusiastic about the win. “Buhay pa! Two more games, two more games! If we play just like how we played against Letran, not in this game, we have a chance,” Meneses said about the team’s chances.

“Yung first quarter and first half namin, mapapamura ka na lang talaga. All layups ang Perpetual,” he remarked about the first half of their tilt against the Altas. During the game, the Heavy Bombers shot a dismal 32% from the field in the first half while letting their opponents score 38 points on 39% shooting. In addition, the Heavy Bombers committed 10 fouls that led to 11 free throw attempts for the Las Pinas-based squad.

But during the third quarter, Paolo Pontejos lifted the Heavy Bombers with 16 big points. “Yun yung big run namin. That’s a huge run by Paolo that brought us back into the game,” he reflected about the game-breaking 29-14 run his team did during the third quarter.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times JRU head coach Meneses: ‘Masarap nga talaga yung pinaghihirapan’    In the fourth quarter, the Heavy Bomber-defense was anchored by Abdoul Poutuouchi. The foreign student-athlete helped limit the Perps to just eight points in the quarter. He also made the big stop in the closing seconds of the game that helped seal the game for JRU. The Cameroonian was able to notch 12 points and ten boards and the win. Despite this, the PBA legend is still not satisfied with the production of his prized big man. “Iba sana yung complexion ng laro pag nandiyan siya [Abdulwahab Abdulrazak]. Nagkadengue kasi yung lamok sa kanya. I mean nagkadengue kasi siya.” “I’m expecting more from him because I know he is better than this,” he told Poutouochi.

Still, for him, he does not need to pressure his players to win against the Lyceum Pirates and the San Sebastian Golden Stags. “Nothing to lose ang last two games namin. Sabi ko sa kanila, just relax.”

With just two games remaining, and against teams below 50%, he knows that they can’t succumb to the notion that this will be easy outings. “Next namin do-or-die na naman. Siguro masarap nga talaga yung pinaghihirapan. Sana we’re destined to be there [Final Four],” the coach quipped.

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