JOSE Rizal University head coach Vergel Meneses is mighty pleased his squad won four straight games to end the first round of the NCAA Season 93 but he knows the job is far from done.
Sitting in third place with a 6-3 record, the Heavy Bombers hope to continue to rise as they aim to compete with the likes of the Lyceum Pirates and the San Beda Red Lions – responsible for two of their three losses in the first round.
They’ll be looking to settle one more score to start the second round as they take on the Arellano Chiefs on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Heavy Bombers dropped a heartbreaker against the Chiefs, 73-72, in a game where Kent Salado drained a game-winning floater with 0.2 seconds left.
“We’re not yet in the level of San Beda and Lyceum,” Meneses said.
“And even though we beat Letran, they’re also a very strong team. I just hope we bring this momentum into the second round,” he added.
One good thing that the Heavy Bombers would be bringing into the second round is how they have found different heroes aside from top gunner Tey Teodoro.
Meneses got big games from the likes of Ervin Grospe, Jed Mendoza, Aaron Bordon and Gio Lasquety.
Now it’s all about finding consistency from these guys as they enter the second round.
“I give players confidence para during foul trouble si Tey or anything happens, I can still rely on them,” Meneses continued.
While the Heavy Bombers are rolling, the Chiefs are still trying to figure out what to do in order to salvage a season that’s slowly getting away from their grip.
At 3-6, the finalists from last year are basically put into a situation where there are no more room for errors if they are to make a late run at the semifinals.
It all starts with finding ample help for the prolific Kent Salado who’s been dazzling this season individually with averages of 18 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Salado has been vocal about getting help from his teammates but he isn’t losing hope come the second round.
“Siyempre kailangan mag-step up din sila. Yung mga shooters namin, kailangan mag-click kasi naddraw ko naman yung depensa e,” said Salado.
“Pero may second round pa naman. Kaya pa yan. Kailangan magtulong-tulungan lang.”
In the first game, fourth running Letran (5-4) tries to get back to winning ways as it takes on Perpetual Help (3-6) in a crucial tie between two teams in the middle of the pack.