COMPARED to the rebuilding job he had to endure back in the juniors level, Mapua coach Randy Alcantara believes that he is in a better position with the Cardinals despite starting off 0-5 in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament.
"Grabe yung juniors ko noon. Baon talaga bago kami nakalaban. Pero meron ito eh," he said.
His confidence is owed to the number of former Red Robins he has in his roster, led by Laurenz Victoria, Warren Bonifacio, Arvin Gamboa, Noah Lugo, and rookie Paolo Hernandez.
"Gaya ng sabi ko, nine players na ang galing juniors dito, kilala na nila ako plus yung sistema at alam kong lalaban sila every game," he said.
It wasn't easy, though, with Mapua suffering tight defeats in its first five games. But all Alcantara said was for his players to stay the course despite the struggles.
"Di man namin nakukuha sa endgame, o dikit yung ibang losses namin, breaks of the game lang, pero sinabi ko hindi lang natatapat. Pero alam namin na tinatrabaho naman namin every game," he said.
Chips, however, finally fell into place for the Cardinals on Saturday as they pulled off a 73-64 win over the Arellano Chiefs for their breakthrough conquest of the season.
"Saan pa ba kami pupunta from 0-5? Syempre frustrated ka, pero di ako nawalan ng pag-asa kasi kilala ko ang mga players ko, mga fighter ito. Talagang natapat ngayon, swerte kami," he said, with Victoria uncorking a career-best 29 points to steer his side to the win.
As much as the slump has been halted, Alcantara hopes that this would only be the start of better days for Mapua as he hopes to replicate his success in the high school level to now in college.
"Sana tuloy-tuloy na ito, na nakakakuha kami ng panalo. Pero hindi pa dito nagtatapos," he said.
The Cardinals seek to make it back-to-back wins when they face Emilio Aguinaldo on Tuesday.