Nimes on Mapua’s near-collapse: ‘Feels almost worse than losing’
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 01, 2015 02:15 AM
DISASTER AVERTED. Josan Nimes and Mapua did just enough, but that still doesn't take away the stench of a near-collapse.
Mapua Institute of Technology garnered their first winning streak in the 91st Season of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament last Friday, but their locker room after the game was far from celebratory.
“It's like we didn't even win the game. The locker room was quiet. It wasn't a locker room where you won,” Cardinals team captain Josan Nimes shared with ABS-CBN Sports.
Punctuating his description of the team’s post-game mood, he added, “It almost felt worse than when we lost our other games.”
Mapua blasted off to a 68-point first half and a commanding 40-point advantage at the half before Lyceum of the Philippines University transformed into an entirely different team and shrunk their deficit to as little as six points inside the last two minutes. The Cardinals ultimately won, but it definitely felt like they did just enough not to lose.
Pinpointing his team's problem, Nimes said, “We couldn't get the ball over the court. We were turning the ball over and then not playing defense.” Indeed, Mapua committed 19 of their 32 errors in the second half and saw their opponents convert those into 26 of their 31 points off turnovers.
Even the Cardinals’ mentor had to admit he was the opposite of happy after their win. “Nag-sermon ako sa players ko because I'm not happy. We were looking stupid in the third and fourth quarters,” coach Atoy Co said in his post-game conference.
He continued, “After the first half, sabi ko, ‘Siguradong Final Four na kami.’ Pero after ng second half, parang feeling ko nalaglag ulit.”
The good news for Mapua is that their near-collapse made even clearer what they need to work on, especially with Colegio de San Juan de Letran's “magulo basketball” looming. “Breaking the press has long been a problem of ours and now we need to work even harder to fix it,” Nimes said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.