MAPUA coach Atoy Co and outgoing star Josan Nimes believe the Cardinals are capable of being an even stronger team next year even with the departure of four key players from this season’s roster.
Co and Nimes found solace in a turnaround season for the Cardinals that saw them take the third seeding by winning eight of their nine games in the second round before losing to second-seed Letran, 91-90, in the Final Four.
Still, Co said he was happy with the result of a season that saw the Cardinals finally shed a cellar-dweller tag and become a force to be reckoned with in the country's oldest collegiate league.
“This is my third year. We are in the cellar in my first two years as coach. I’m happy that we took the team to the Final Four, everybody is already talking about us, and all the Mapuans are coming out (to watch the games),” said Co.
Nimes shared his coach's view.
“We are disappointed but at the same time, we are happy. Nobody really expected us to perform this way. We made the community happy,” said Nimes.
Nimes is one of the four graduating players for the Cardinals, joining Andretti Stevens, Mark Brana, and Raphael Layug. But the Rain or Shine-bound swingman said Mapua is still capable of putting up a good run in Season 92.
“They are going to be really good, if not better. We only have four players graduating and we have guys coming in. But the core is still the same and those who contributed in the second round will be back."
Co said he will be expecting more from this players next year.
“I think mas mataas ang expectations ko for next year. Puwede na akong maglatigo kumbaga. Kung ayaw mo shumoot, lumayas ka. Kailangang magpakundisyon ka, kung hindi, lumayas ka sa team. Kasi puwede naman pala mangyari ‘yun na kahit hindi ganun ka-skilled, kung masipag ka, puwede ka,” said Co.