JOSE Rizal University coach Vergel Meneses considered the Heavy Bombers' Final Four appearance in the Filoil preseason as an achievement going into NCAA Season 93.
While he still sees room for improvements for his squad, Meneses said being a semifinalist in the Filoil tournament bodes well to the coming NCAA season which opens on July 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"It's a big achievement para sa amin to be in the top four sa Filoil. UAAP and NCAA 'yan and maraming mas magagaling sa amin. Siguro, kaya kami nakarating dito kasi they follow instructions, they compete," said Meneses.
Led by Teytey Teodoro, the Heavy Bombers finished the preliminaries in third place in Group A and reached the semifinals of the Filoil tournament before bowing to eventual champion San Beda
Meneses, however, said JRU still needs support from the second stringers if the Heavy Bombers want to sustain their preseason form in the NCAA.
"Siguro ang importante, we should start believing na we can make it na pagdating sa NCAA, we can beat anybody. 'Yung mental toughness ng players ko, 'yun ang sinasabi ko. Ang problema ko mga guys off the bench, understandable na rookie sila, but they should have more effort pagdating sa mental toughness," said Meneses.
The support from second stringers proved to be the difference in the Filoil against San Beda, according to Meneses, as the Red Lions showed their depth in beating the Heavy Bombers in the semifinal match.
"Talagang super team talaga 'yung San Beda. Ako, medyo hindi ako deep bench. Pero siguro we have to correct some mistakes... Sabi ko nga sa kanila, if we play against San Beda, we have to bring our A-game in order to get to the next level because they are strong, they are disciplined, and they want to compete," Meneses said.
Bench support is all the more needed for this season, Meneses said, after the season-ending ACL injury to Darius Estrella.
"Ngayon, nagkaka-problema pa ako kasi nagka-ACL si (Darius) Estrella. He is playing very well. Naka-adopt na siya sa gusto kong mangyari. Siguro next year, makakakuha kami ng tamang players sa recruitment," said Meneses.