Vergel Meneses was in an unfamiliar position on Tuesday afternoon. After the Jose Rizal University suffered a 73-85 loss to the Perpetual Altas, the Heavy Bombers were effectively eliminated from the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball Final Four race.
14 games is the soonest Meneses has experienced getting eliminated in his nine-year say at JRU.
But for Meneses, he knew that it was going to be a long season for them.
“Actually, una pa lang. Start pa lang ng season [alam ko na].”
Still, the PBA legend found a silver-lining in his team. After losing two of their first seven games in the season by a margin of 22.3 points, the Heavy Bombers have lost by just 6.25 points in their last four games.
“Sa akin, yung nakikita ko sa second round, it’s a big improvement for us. Nakikita ko sa kanila how they play together, yung character medyo nandiyan na although, siyempre, we’re still young and on a rebuilding process.
“Nakikita ko yung positives for next year,” he said. “Meron naman tayong upcoming sa mga juniors. Sa nakikita ko naman, sabihin natin import is an import. Even nung time namin kay ano, malaking advantage yun, pero nakikita ko they compete in the team with an import.”
For now, what is important for Meneses is to lock up the six seniors graduating from the Light Bombers program, headlined by the duo of John Amores and John delos Santos. JRU High School is currently situated at fourth place in the Juniors Basketball tournament.
“But we focus more on our juniors kasi sila yung core for next year.
“Six of them. Ako nag-recruit doon, katulong ko si coach Vic (Lazaro) para buuin yun,” beamed Meneses. “We’re just looking for a big man na, di naman actually dominant, but has he basketball sense. Im not saying na walang basketball sense yung mga big man ko, pero yun lang ang capacity nila. Ang big ano sa akin, si [JR] Aguilar. Nakita mo yung potential ng bata.”
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