RAYMAR Jose is so determined to extend his playing career in the UAAP that he performed like there was no tomorrow for Far Eastern University on Saturday afternoon.
The 24-year-old Jose picked the best time to play his best game of the season, finishing with 20 points and 23 rebounds to lift the Tamaraws to a 62-61 win over Ateneo at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jose said he simply doesn’t want to take an early vacation and end his final year with the Tamaraws.
“Para sa akin, nasa puso ko, ayaw ko pa magbakasyon,” said the Tamaraws' rebounding demon. “Last year ko na, gusto ko effort pa talaga na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban talaga kami.”
“Siguro dun ako humugot sa Panginoon na ibigay ko lang ang best ko,” Jose said.
Jose utterly dominated Ateneo’s bigs in the later part of the game, making crucial rebounds to spark an FEU fightback from a 10-point Ateneo lead.
Monbert Arong was the big recipient of those rebounds, scoring nine in the fourth quarter.
“Siguro ‘yung focus ko talaga, kung ano lang makakaya kong gawin sa loob. Last year ko na ‘to, double effort, triple effort. Gusto ko rin bumalik sa finals,” said Jose.
FEU coach Nash Racela lauded the effort of Jose, who finally emerged from his shell after lackadaisical games during the a losing skid that endangered FEU's place in the Final Four.
“He was struggling when we were losing. Ayoko na silang kausapin kasi maraming nagsasalita sa kanila. It was them who found the way to perform," said Racela.
"Nakita niyo naman today na with the way the Ateneo big men were hugging Toto (Jose), nakakuha pa rin siya ng 23 rebounds. It was really desire."
Moments after the final buzzer sounded, Jose showed his leadership as he gathered his teammates at midcourt before heading to dugout - their focus now on the rubber match on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila na magtulungan tayo. 'Effort lang at kung ano ‘yung sinasabi ni coach, sundin lang natin. Gusto ko walang selfish sa atin. Laban lang tayo,'” said Jose.