SITTING on one of the lower-box seats at The Arena in San Juan, Josan Nimes felt helpless as he watched Mapua reel to its seventh straight loss and left the Cardinals stuck in the bottom of the standings in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-2 swingman was supposed to be one of the Cardinals’ vital cogs this year after coming off a season that saw him emerge as the Intramuros-based squad’s top playmaker, averaging a team-leading 3.5 assists and 11.9 points per game.
But relegated to cheering his teammates at the sideline after a back injury forced him to sit out the entire Season 89, Nimes could do nothing but watch helplessly as the Cardinals bow to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 80-89.
Mapua dropped to a league-worst 1-8 (win-loss) record.
“It’s very hard, because there’s nothing you can do about it,” Nimes admitted to Spin.ph after the game. “I always feel the pain of the loss, but it’s worse when you watch it and you have no control.”
A two-year veteran, Nimes helps the rookie-laden Cardinals off the court in his own way.
“Just by encouraging, talking to the players especially our rookies, telling them what it’s like and that it’s still a long season, helping them more mentally.”
Nimes, still eligible to play for two more years in the country’s oldest collegiate league, has good news to all Mapua supporters as he already rejoined the team at practice two weeks ago.
He rates his recovery at 80 percent.
“I’m very excited coming back next season, can’t wait to get back on the court.”
For now, Nimes can only hope the Cardinals finally put an end to their tailspin, although next up is a formidable foe in front-running Letran on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the start of the second round of play.