AFTER a forgettable stint the previous season, Mapua is again off to a rough start although there is a reason for the Cardinals fans to be upbeat, according to coach Randy Alcantara.
The Cardinals remain brimming with optimism especially with what they showcased in a two-point loss to Perpetual Help in their NCAA Season 95 opener at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
“Good start kami pero di namin natapos ng maganda. May mga players na hindi pa ganun ka ready. May mga turnovers, bumaba yung morale nila and nagsunod sunod yung turnover,” said Alcantara.
“At the end of the day, kailangan namin trabahahuhin yung every aspect ng game namin. Lumamang man kami, pero alam namin na babalik at babalik sila e.”
With young guns like Warren Bonifacio and rookie Cyrill Gonzales now running the show, the new look Cardinals looked fantastic in stretches, as they moved the ball well resulting into open threes, while forcing the Chiefs to turnover after turnover.
That was most evident when they took a 45-39 lead in the first half, a lead which they padded to 10 points early in the third quarter.
However, that inexperience finally showed when the Altas started to make a run for it.
“Crucial dun yung third quarter. Nagbigay kami ng 25 points, lamang kami tapos naglead sila, yun na nakabwelo na sila ng dirediretso. Okay kami nung fourth dahil 16 all e, pero nung third talaga yung nagkaproblema,” explained Alcantara.
The rookie head coach is more than willing to give his team some buffer moving forward though. As disappointing as the result is for them, he knows potential when he sees one - and that’s exactly what he sees from the Cardinals.
Aside from Gonzales and Bonifacio, they also have some grizzled players led by do-it-all guard Laurenz Victoria, JP Nieles and Christian Bunag.
With a pretty loaded line-up, it won’t be surprising to see these Cardinals turn some heads soon.
“Bago magstart ang season, sabi ko nga, makapagcompete lang kami every game, makalaban kami every game yung resulta sa huli na siguro yun,” Alcantara said.
“Tuloy lang namin yung ganung attitude namin sa game. Pero siyempre kailangan namin trabahuhin yung turnovers, so kailangan parin namin maging mas solid sa depensa.”