JOSE Rizal University may be in a comfortable spot, but Heavy Bombers coach Vergel Meneses is stressing his wards cannot relax as they face cellar-dwelling Mapua on Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Usually situated in the middle of the pack, the Bombers have found themselves in an unlikely position sharing third place with University of Perpetual Help following three straight victories.
But Meneses has reminded the Bombers not to get ahead of themselves. After all, their last three wins were decided by just two points or less.
“We’re not in a position to play relaxed basketball. Wala pa tayong nararating,” said Meneses, whose team, sporting a 5-3 win-loss card, has missed the Final Four for two years in a row now.
“We’re not San Beda. We’re not Arellano, or kung sino man,” the fiery mentor added, referring to the league-leaders in the Red Lions and the Chiefs.
The Bombers’ recent triumphs, though, have enabled them to get used to wiggling out of tight situations, which could come in handy in their 4 p.m. encounter with the Cardinals, who Meneses is not discounting despite their 1-7 record.
“Any team can beat any team, even Mapua. Patay din sila kung patay,” Meneses said of the Atoy Co-mentored squad. “We have to be ready for them.”
Still, the Bombers, led by gunner Philip Paniamogan, stalwart Michael Mabulac, and plucky rookie Tey Teodoro, are heavy favorites against the Cardinals, who are bannered by Andoy Estrella and Jessie Saitanan.
San Sebastian seeks to put an end to its misery as it tangles with Emilio Aguinaldo College in the 2 o’clock game.
After winning their first two games, the Golden Stags have been in a free-fall with successive losses that has left them stuck in seventh spot with a 3-5 slate.
The Recto-based dribblers hope to stop the bleeding after the match against the Generals, who are just a spot behind them with only two wins two show in eight games.