TEODORO’S CHALLENGE: Pilot JRU through dark skies ahead

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 03, 2017 07:23 PM
TEODORO’S CHALLENGE: Pilot JRU through dark skies ahead
FOLLOW THE LEADER. According to JRU mythology, Teytey Teodoro can only be stopped by two people - himself and head coach Vergel Meneses.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 9-9, 5th place

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Teytey Teodoro, Ervin Grospe, Gio Lasquety

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: N/A

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Darius Estrella (ACL injury in preseason), Jordan dela Paz, Paolo Pontejos

For Jose Rizal University, the NCAA 93 – and the year after that – is actually pretty simple, anything and everything will start and end with Teytey Teodoro.

“Wherever Teytey goes, yun ang pupuntahan ng JRU. I’m not putting pressure sa kanya, but dapat niyang i-accept yun,” head coach Vergel Meneses said.

In that light, Meneses has full faith in his top gun, even quipping, “Dalawa lang naman ang makaka-stop sa kanya e – siya at ako. ‘Pag ‘di ko siya pinasok, edi na-stop ko siya. ‘Pag ayaw niyang maglaro, na-stop niya sarili niya. Yun lang yun.”

The Philippine basketball legend said that statement after Teodoro scored 23 points to tow the Heavy Bombers past Adamson University and all the way into the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament Semifinals.

Just two days later, however, the incoming fourth-year guard only had nine points and missed nine of his 13 field goal attempts in JRU’s semifinals loss to eventual champion San Beda College.

Meaning, Teodoro is still searching for much-needed consistency. “I don’t have problems with (Ervin) Grospe, I don’t have problems with (Gio) Lasquety, given na yung hardwork nila e. Siya lang yung tingin ko, he has to step up there,” Meneses said.

That is even truer now that the mentor can only go six-deep with his rotation which includes MJ Dela Virgen, Abdel Poutuouchi, Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak, Grospe, Lasquety, and Teodoro. “We’re not like San Beda na kahit first group, second group, third group, malakas. Eto na yung lineup namin, nawala pa nga si Darius,” he said.

Meneses was referring to swingman Darius Estrella who was one of the rising stars in the preseason tournament before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Still, Teodoro said he is up to the challenge of living up to what Shaw Boulevard needs – and more. “Last three years, more on scoring lang talaga ako. Ngayon, hinahanapan na rin ako ng coach na kailangan ko nang gamitin yung teammates ko para lumuwag yung depensa sa akin,” he said.

With its top gun fully committed in taking on the challenge, JRU has its sights set on a return to the Final Four. “Ang goal namin, Final Four tapos sa makapasok din ng Finals. Tingin ko, kaya naman namin,” he expressed.

Meneses was of the same mind – even though theirs is not a popular opinion. “We’re not considered to be in the top four so that’s our motivation. We always tell them, let’s enter the Final Four and then see what will happen,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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