Rolling hot after winning their NCAA Season 91 debut against the Arellano University Chiefs, many expected the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers to easily snag their second win of the season against the undersized Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights.
In the end, however, even JRU’s bombs looked like brittle pebbles to Letran’s shiny armor as the Knights captured a lopsided 78-62 victory.
“We were outhustled and we were not ready to play. Letran was so aggressive [the entire game],” shared JRU Head Coach Vergel Meneses about the loss. “Ang tingin ko lang they [JRU] thought that we can easily beat Letran, pero nagkamali sila. Letran wanted to prove something even though na ganoon lineup nila, they have good defense.”
With Letran’s aggressiveness on the defensive end, the JRU offense couldn’t get anything in their arsenal to flow efficiently. Paolo Pontejos and Abdul Abdul Wahab led all Heavy Bombers with 11 points each, while Dave Sanchez had 10 points. Other than that, no other JRU player managed to score in double digits.
Also, JRU was outrebounded by Letran, 39-46, and they committed more turnovers compared to the opposition, 17-11.
Digging further into the game, Meneses also pointed out that their halfcourt sets can result into a better outing for the team, given Letran’s smaller lineups and shorter rotations. However, it never materialized as the Knights made life difficult for them by applying their very disruptive full court pressure throughout the game and running in transition the moment JRU turned the ball over.
“Well, siguro ang basa ko is they pressed us [a lot]. They think na they will have a problem with us pagdating sa halfcourt offense. Ang problema namin against Letran is malayo doon sa nilaro namin when Arellano pressed us at noong nakalaban din namin ang UE sa Filoil at Fr. Martin,” Meneses added. “[We had] no short passes when they pressed us and napaka-disiplinado ng Letran. Sobra ang galing ng Letran [in defense]”.”
“We cannot play relaxed basketball pagdating sa defense. Sabi ko nga noong una, we have the firepower, but bottomline dito is defense. You look how Letran played defense, ang galing at nakakainggit. They do it every game.”
Putting this forgettable setback away, JRU shall now attempt to correct their mistakes and show up with more urgency, as they are now set to take on Bright Akhuetie and the streaking Perpetual Help Altas in their next match this coming Friday, 2:00 pm, at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
“Nobody can stop the import [Akhuetie] and most of the time nasa kaniya ang bola. Tingin ko we have to stop some of their guys and dapat ma-stop namin mga wing guys nila,” Meneses ended.