The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers started their NCAA campaign sluggishly, giving them their current 2-2 record. In the four games played, inconsistency on both ends of the floor and their mental lapses had cost them the winnable games.
However, JRU finally got things going after they notched a much-needed 67-47 win against the winless Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last July 17 at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Also, in that game, Abdel Poutouochi finally broke out of his mini-slump with a healthy record of 15 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assists.
In the two games prior to JRU’s win against EAC, Poutouochi’s play has been very unpredictable since he never registered anything in their game against Letran, while he came out with a double-double feat of 10 points and 14 rebounds in their overtime loss against the San Sebastian Golden Stags.
“We are coming from a really bad start and coach wanted JRU to play with pressure and realizations,” Poutouochi told Tiebreaker Times. “We just have to follow our game plan again and again. We have to compete.”
Poutouochi also admits that he must find the consistency in his play, since JRU’s chances of winning are better when he is fully engaged in the game. Fortunately for him, he has the guidance of their Head Coach and former King Bomber, Vergel Meneses, one of the best swingmen in the PBA, in battling it out against the other tough NCAA teams.
“Coach is one of the greatest players here. So he knows what I feel and what I can do on the floor. He helps me all the time and he pushes me whenever I’m lazy,” Poutouochi added. “He continues to push and to push me a lot so now I got his point and then together we will walk with his vision. We need to adapt to his vision and continue playing.”
Aside from the mental aspect of his game, Poutouochi also remarked that he still adjusting to the NCAA style of play. Given the speed and physicality of the league, it is only a matter of time before he can impose his will down low. For now, all he can do is to become the team’s energy guy and linchpin on defense.
“[I think I need to work on] more on my athleticism. It was not easy to run fast and it was difficult for me,” he further remarked. “But now, I think I gained my energy so I think I need to work more on my legs to jump for rebounds. That’s it. In my country during high school it was not like this and I used to adjust a lot in my basketball qualities and it’s something good for me.”
With momentum on their side, JRU will now continue its season as they are set to face the LPU Pirates this coming Friday, 2:00 pm, at the Filoil Flying V Arena.