SAN Sebastian star Jamil Ortuoste is convinced the Stags’ skid is just a bumpy patch and not the start of a journey to infamy.
“Para sa akin, challenge ito sa amin,” the veteran point guard said. “Hindi ko ‘to tinitingnan para ma-down kami. Iniisip ko lang na may purpose lahat ‘to kung bakit nangyayari.”
The Golden Stags bowed to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 56-71, on Monday, extending their slide in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to five games.
That’s still far from the 13-match skid Mapua suffered last season, but for Ortuoste the run has been excruciating considering that his squad is trying to build on the winning seasons of San Sebastian during the Pinatubo Trio era.
Ortuoste is so frustrated he even went as far as comparing the run to University of the Philippines’ in the UAAP.
“Yung iba nga, UP nga, after two years, ngayon lang nanalo,” Ortuoste said, referring to the Maroons’ 27-game skid in the UAAP that was finally snapped on Saturday with a victory over Adamson.
Actually, Ortuoste is one of the reasons why the Stags are on a slump, averaging a measly 2.3 points in 26.3 minutes in his last three games. He mustered only three points in 30 minutes against the Generals.
To make matters worse, Ortouste hurt his ribs during a collision win EAC's Noube Happi late in the game.
“Kailangan i-motivate ko yung sarili at teammates ko,” said Ortuoste, who suffered a double whammy after a rib injury sustained over the weekend recurred in the final minute of the game against EAC.
Still, Ortuoste vowed the seventh-running Stags would prepare better in the second round of competition.
“Itong second round, talagang paghahandaan namin. Mas aggressive ang defense at offense tapos medyo push kami ng bola. Medyo hindi kami mag-se-set plays.”