Atoy Co lauds resilience of rookie-laden Mapua side in thrilling win over JRU
Mapua coach Atoy Co was not pleased with his jittery team's horrendous shooting but lauded their resilience. Jerome Ascano

MAPUA showed nerves of steel despite being a young team after surviving a thriller over Jose Rizal University, 74-71, in their opening game of Season 92 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday. Yet Cardinals coach Atoy Co was not exactly pleased.

“We didn’t play our usual game,” said Co, who noted his jittery team's horrendous shooting (25-of-64 field goals) that, fortunately, didn't cost the match for the Cardinals. 

“Some of us had opening jitters. Our shooting percentage was bad. Luckily we won,” he added. 

Still, the four-year mentor lauded his rookie-laden squad with seven freshmen in the roster, which displayed resilience despite being down by as much as 10 points. 

“I’m happy we won on opening day,” he said. "All my players showed a big heart, they didn’t give up until the end.”

Mapua skipper CJ Isit shared the same sentiment of their coach, underscoring their grit as the key to victory. 

“It was a back-and-forth game. Despite being a fairly young team, we stuck together and came up with the win,” said Isit, who scored 17 points built on three triples.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros