DESPITE a tough loss to title contender Perpetual Help, Josan Nimes sees a ray of hope for Mapua’s Final Four bid in Season 91 of the NCAA.
The Cardinals slugged it out toe-to-toe against the Altas and even led by seven points in the fourth quarter only to collapse entering the home stretch.
Mapua even had a chance to send the game into overtime but Nimes missed the potential game-tying three-pointer as the Cardinals lost, 82-79.
After missing the shot, Nimes sat and leaned on the LED advertising board in dismay as he watched the Altas celebrate on court.
Still, the Mapua stalwart later said there are still a lot of positives after holding their own against a team that is tipped to crowd San Beda in the title race.
Nimes said, “I hate this learning experience but we will take it. Coach (Atoy Co) said that it’s early in the season. We still have a lot of opportunities.”
“I think after the San Beda game, I didn’t know if we just got lucky,” said Nimes, referring to the way the Cardinals lost against the five-time defending champion Red Lions in the opener.
“But now, after playing against San Beda and Perpetual, that’s probably the top two teams in the league, I’m confident that we can make it to the Final Four,” Nimes added.
The former Rookie of the Year said the Cards were a few stops away from winning the game which saw Perpetual Help score six straight points to close the match.
“If we just made a few more stops, I think that was it. A few more stops, and if we got lucky on our baskets. We didn’t get a chance to run the play in the end. It’s hard to take the loss because we led most of the fourth. If we got a few more stops, we could finish them off,” said Nimes.
Mapua coach Atoy Co said he had a difficult time deciding whether to rest his starters or not especially Allwell Oraeme, who played in all but two minutes of the game.
“Napagod din ‘yung mga players. Ang mali ko, hindi ko na-rotate ng maayos. Pero papaano ko i-rorotate kung ‘yung nasa loob, name-maintain naman ‘yung lead,” said Co.
The Mapua mentor said the Cards lost because they couldn’t make the defensive stops in the end.
Still, Co added the loss will be a boost to their confidence.
“Tingin ko, nag-collapse lang din kami sa depensa sa huli. (Altas star Scottie) Thompson was able to do what he wants to do - penetrate, look at the basket, then pass,” said Co.