EACH time coach Topex Robinson glanced over the bench Monday night, Jamil Ortuoste felt ready to jump out of his seat and run onto the hardcourt.
He simply couldn’t. In plainclothes he rode the bench, and helplessly watched as the Stags were devoured by the San Beda Red Lions 63-84 on Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
"Pag nagkakatinginan nga kami ni coach Topex naiisip ko ako ang bubunutin niya. Para akong napapatayo kasi gusto ko talagang maglaro kasi ang tagal ko hinintay ang Beda-Baste," said Ortuoste.
Ortuoste is raring to train and eager to play, but will be out for two weeks with a sprained ankle.
"Sobrang gusto ko na maglaro ang hirap ng pakiramdam na nanunuod ka lang, gusto ko tumulong sa team," he said.
The 21-year-old rookie, who accidentally stepped on the foot of his teammate and fellow rookie CJ Perez during practice, said he really felt bad he wanted to suit up and train a day after the loss.
"Gusto ko na nga mag practice kanina, (pero) sabi nila magpagaling daw ako. Sinabihan din nila ako na 'wag daw ako ma-down," saying his teammates have told him they understand his situation.
Before the setback, Ortouste led the Stags with an average of 16.4 points and 3.9 assists, along with 4.9 rebounds in 27.9 minutes in seven games.
"Lagi ko naman tinitignan 'yung positive side eh," he added. "Pero mahirap lang talaga mapunta sa ganitong sitwasyon."
But he knows that there is nothing he can do but wait to get better and hope for the best. In the meantime, Ortuoste has the full support of his teammates.
"(Although) sobrang lungkot ko kahapon, sobrang proud ako sa pinakita ng team kasi lumaban talaga sila," he said.