JOSE Rizal University is the first team to bow out of contention in the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament, but despite suffering another defeat — an 85-73 loss to Perpetual on Tuesday — coach Vergel Meneses is just charging this one to experience.
After all, he didn't really expect much from this batch of Heavy Bombers from the on-set.
"Actually, sa start pa lang ng season, eliminated na kami," he said with a laugh. "Sabi ko nga, 'Let us see what will happen this season. Pag maganda ang nilaro natin, pasalamat tayo.' Although syempre, we're still young and on a rebuilding process."
JRU was the first casualty of this season with its 2-12 record, but for Meneses, winning that much games is already big in terms of their individual development, with a lot having their first time to play in this kind of competitive environment.
"Yung nakikita ko sa second round, it's a big improvement for us. Nakikita ko sa kanila how they play together. Yung character, medyo nandyan na. So nakikita ko yung positives na talaga for next year," he said.
That's why Meneses isn't really stressing that much on his squad's struggles this year, opting to look ahead to NCAA Season 95 which will also coincide with JRU's centennial celebrations.
And this early, the PBA great knows that the Heavy Bombers' future is indeed going to be bright.
"We focus more on our juniors kasi sila yung magiging core for next year. Six of them, ako ang nag-recruit doon. Katulong ko si coach Vic (Lazaro) para buuin yun," he said.
Seniors John Amores and John delos Santos are leading the fight for the Light Bombers in the high school wars, and at 8-6, are on pace to snag a Final Four seat in the juniors tournament.
Meneses, however, isn't willing to declare anyone as a lock for next year's squad, knowing that there's still a lot that can happen from now up to next season.
"Sa akin, meron na ako sa isip. But ayokong sabihin kasi baka yung iba hindi magpursigi. Kung sino ang available sa kanila, bakit hindi? Nakita natin kung paano sila mag-compete. As of now, we consider everybody to go up sa Team A o Team B, but I have players in mind na pwede sa team," he said.