RAYMAR Jose was still catching his breath when he faced reporters after his debut with Cignal ended up in a loss to Flying V, 86-84, in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup opener.
The fatigue understandable as Jose came off an almost two-month layoff but still went all out albeit in a losing effort for the Hawkeyes at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Thursday.
The Cignal newbie saw his double-double outing of 19 points and 14 rebounds go for naught as the Hawkeyes faded down the stretch against a Flying V side led by Jeron Teng.
"Maganda naman pinakita namin pero nabitin lang," said the former Far Eastern U star, who last played for the Kaoshiung Truth in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The Hawkeyes blew a 77-69 lead in the final four minutes as Teng led a 14-2 Flying V uprising and took the lead, 83-79.
They regained the lead on Davon Potts' three-pointer, but Teng was simply too much to handle as the former La Salle star scored a three-point play off Jose to clinch the match.
Still, Jose was just glad to be back on the basketball court against top competition.
"Sarap. Sarap makapaglaro ulit. Tagal na rin e. Sayang lang natalo pero makakabawi naman kami," he said.