CEBU CITY – For a Mapua team where wins were always hard to come by, having the 2011 NCAA Rookie of the Year Josan Nimes back in their fold is a sight for sore eyes.
That much was evident after the Cardinals emerged with the title in the Cebu City Mayors Cup Invitational after an 83-80 victory over the hosts University of San Carlos Warriors in the finals on Tuesday night.
And at the forefront of that morale-boosting victory was Nimes, the Fil-Australian wingman who is coming back from knee and back injuries that sidelined him last season.
In his absence, the Cardinals won a grand total of six games while losing a combined 30 over the last two years.
But with Nimes back to join a bunch of veterans led by Mark Brana, CJ Isit and Andretti Stevens, along with the steely guidance of head coach Atoy Co, the Cardinals are hoping to turn things around this season.
“I think the most important thing is that in every game we’ll have a chance. We have veterans coming back. The most important thing is that in every game, we give ourselves a chance to win and that’s the biggest improvement from last year,” said Nimes in a talk with Spin.ph before the game.
Nimes added that he is benefiting from the Cebu sojourn as it gave him the chance to regain his rhythm and confidence.
“I’m just trying to get back my timing and confidence. I’m starting to get it here. The last two games I’ve played pretty good. Since I came here I’m starting to get those back,” he shared.
The 6-foot-3 two-guard also added that the team is adjusting well to the rigid coaching of head coach and PBA legend Fortunato “Atoy” Co and his assistant, Ed Cordero.
“They’re disciplined coaches and it’s what our team needs because we don’t have the same talent as the other teams. We don’t have the luxury of having bad games so they’re very detailed with what we do and it makes a big difference,” he said.
With the NCAA season looming in the horizon, Nimes said that a Final Four stint is not far off.
“Main goal is just to make the Final Four. It doesn’t matter where we land – 1, 2, 3 or 4 – just the Top 4," he said. "From there anything can happen.”