MAPUA top players Josan Nimes and Allwell Oraeme admitted the Cardinals played not to lose on Friday against Lyceum and nearly paid the price after squandering what appeared to be an insurmountable 43-point lead in their NCAA Season 91 men’s basketball game.
The Cardinals did beat the Pirates, 109-95, but not after seeing their 64-21 lead dwindle to just seven points in the closing minutes of the game.
“That was probably the scariest second half I ever played in,” admitted Nimes, who finished the game with 24 points. “They (coaches) said at halftime don’t be complacent. If we had lost, I can’t even explain it.”
Oraeme said: “It was scary, man. We can’t lose this game.”
Despite the win, the Cardinals didn’t escape the wrath of fuming head coach Atoy Co, who despite showing his displeasure at the game officiating, was also very disappointed with the way his team played in the second half.
“Katatapos ko lang mag-sermon sa mga players ko. This is the game that I’m not happy. We won the game but I’m not happy because we looked stupid in the third and the fourth quarter.
“The intensity went down unlike in the first half. They really, really, really played good defense in the first half,” said Co, who was also thrown out of the game after he took off his shirt and waved it in front of the Mapua bench for complaining a non-call by the referee late in the game.
“I’m very sorry that I did something stupid in the fourth quarter to make a statement,” said the Mapua coach.
Nimes and Oraeme admitted the Cardinals played complacent in the final two quarters.
“We just needed to play defense. After we were up by that much, we were like ‘Getting my stats up,’ and ‘It’s my time,’ I don’t think that’s the maturity that we need,” said Nimes.
Oraeme said Mapua failed to match Lyceum’s intensity in the second half.
“They (Lyceum) came out a little hungry. We came in complacent thinking that no way they can come back,” said Oraeme.